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.
Romance is sexy!