USA Today Best of 2012

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ready for take-off. Clear backblast area!

Despite several years in a row where ebook sales have increased exponentially, with reading devices and programs hitting the market constantly (always better, easier, lighter, cheaper than before), ebooks have still felt to me like such a fractional (growing, yes, but small) part of the market.

But not anymore. The Major Players in ebook sales--Amazon, B&N, and Kobo/Borders--are experiencing phenomenal sales growth.

Now for the why. Here's why I think ebook sales are ready to go through the roof like Wonka's Great Glass Elevator shot out the top of Willy's factory:

  • Consumer recognition. Just a year ago, mention ebooks and you'd easily have a few people give you that dumb look and say, "What's an ebook?" or "What's a Kindle?" Now I see kids at school with them. You can't open a sales flyer from Target or Walmart or BestBuy without seeing one an ebook reading device and its accessories.
  • Availability. With ebook readers so easy to get our hands on in the big box stores, it's no longer a matter of ordering one from Amazon (without getting our hands on one first) and waiting for it to arrive. Not to mention all the out-of-stock issues...
  • Ease of use. Sony Reader notwithstanding, today's ebook reading devices are user friendly and make getting new material a snap, with options such as WiFi and Blue Tooth connectivity to eliminate the dreaded USB connection.
  • Pricing. Yes, I had to go there. Ebook reading devices cost less than a third what they started out, and now have many more options. Ebooks have remained the economical choice when compared with treebooks. And let us not forget--no shipping charges on ebook delivery!
And the number 1 reason why I think ebook sales are up (and going to remain up)? Instant gratification. When that newsletter/coupon from the ebook vendor hits your Inbox, if you have 5 minutes to spare, you've got time to go buy the book you've been wanting. And probably a couple more. No more schlepping to the bookstore (and yes, a bookstore trip is still a treat for me, but definitely a rarity), or worse, ordering the book online from Amazon and waiting a week for it to arrive. I'll admit, I spend more money on books now than I ever have--and get far more books in the process. Impulse purchases are so much easier now. And another awesome factor is, I don't have to keep buying shelves or totes to store my books on, after I've read them. I can keep them around forever, without taking up any "real" space.

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

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