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Sunday, 17 February 2013

That evil old Amazon

Amazon have seen a 4% rise in share prices this last week after analysts published data that showed the eBook market is bigger than previously estimated - Morgan Stanley's Scott Devitt, a leading Internet and e-commerce analyst, told investors in the research note that eBooks are performing better than expected.

Devitt estimated worldwide eBook unit sales of 859 million in 2012, up considerably from a previous estimate of 567 million. With almost 45 percent of the e-book market, Amazon likely sold 383 million eBooks last year, compared with an earlier estimate of 252 million..

  It was initially assumed that early adopters of eReader devices would be avid readers and, therefore, the marginal buyer would read less.However, data from a recent Amazon presentation show that consumers who bought a Kindle in 2011 read 4.6 times more eBooks, on average, in the 12 months following their gadget purchase, compared with the 12 months before getting the device, the analyst noted.
Similar data from 2008 show consumers reading eBooks 2.6 times as much after their Kindle device purchase, on average.

Amazon is seen by many to be an evil faceless cooperation that seeks to put traditional publishers out of business, but I really can't see that.

Is it the fault of Amazon that by and large traditional publishers were not fully serving their customers? 

Back in prehistoric times, several years ago in fact,  when eReaders had yet to go mainstream, and Amazon were still selling the original Kindle, I wrote on the Archive that the growth of eReaders would see the return of mid list fiction that the traditional publishers had long dropped. As a big fan of western novels I wasn't being catered for by traditional publishing and I'm a big book buyer, so it seemed odd that publishers didn't want my money and insisted that there was no longer a market for cheaply produced westerns and other genre fiction.

 I longed for the time when western paperbacks, as well as horror, fantasy and other genres could be found in any bookstore. Well with the Kindle and other eReaders those years have now returned - Yep, evil old Amazon have brought back choice.

Many of the old classics I once devoured in cheap paperbacks are now back on sale for various eReading devices. One of my favorite digital imprints are Piccadilly Publishing and if you like westerns you should check them out HERE. Most of their titles were once published by the likes of NEL, Corgi, Sphere, Mayflower, names that were once big in mid-list fiction, but sometimes during the 1980's when publishers were looking for the next Stephen King and ignoring everything else, huge chunks of genre fiction simply disappeared from bookshops, even the Edge western series which to my mind represents a high point in male orientated fiction went the way of the dodo - Yep, you've guessed it the Edge series is now eBook and available everywhere, evil old Amazon!

So reading is on the rise, eBooks are gaining market dominance and although there are many companies serving eReading readers, and many devices on sale, it is one company that have done the most to raise the profile of eBooks with the average person on the street -and by this I mean those not predisposed as many Archive readers are to rummaging in secondhand book shops for a fix on long vanished genre fiction -  that company is evil old Amazon - they have made books cheaper, more easily available and I really can't see what's so evil about that.

However there is one storm on the horizon and that is Amazon's plans to create a market for secondhand digital content, but that's a topic for another post and another rant.

Anyway I've a fancy for a good western today and so I'm off out to buy a new westerns - Wait do I really want to struggle through the traffic, brave the hordes of shoppers only to be told at Waterstones or W H Smith that the last time they stocked new westerns was 1986? No, I guess not. Still I could always take a trip up the evil old Amazon and come away with a new western in minutes.

Damn, those guys at Amazon are so evil ... they give me just what I want.

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