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Thursday, 2 June 2011

eBooks/real books - can they co-exist?

Haper Collins have said that their eBook sales are growing between 5% and 10% week on week.

Harry Potter publisher Bloomsbury's ebook revenues in the first three months of this year are close to the whole of last year's sales.

Reports like those above are becoming commonplace, but analysts are saying that the remarkable rise in eBooks is giving a false picture and that traditional books are not going to disappear.

Amazon has every interest in trumpeting the success of Kindle books - not least because it wants more consumers to buy its reading device, which now sells for £111 and is widely regarded as the market-leader.However, some observers argue that ebook-buying is being driven at least in part by the technology itself, with sales rising each time a new device such as the Sony Reader, Kindle, Nook and iPad comes to market.

Penguin's ebook sales last year were only 6% of revenues. For Girl With The Dragon Tattoo publisher Quercus, they represented 3%. 

HarperCollins'  told a recent conference that the value of the UK books market has fallen around 7% this year. "I put this almost entirely down to the sale of ebooks," a publisher spokesperson said. "In fact, I think combined sales of ebook and paperback fiction are probably up at a volume level but not at a value level."

And it seems that publishers are finally becoming web savvy - Penguin recently launched a social-networking site for teens, called Spinebreakers, which encourages reading. Similarly, Random House teamed up with teen site to create an online vampire romance story, Mortal Kiss. Digital has now spawned a physical book as well as a clothing range.

That suggests that although digital keeps growing, consumers also value physical goods. As has been said before, the printed product is a great, hand-held wireless device.

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