Posted on 2014-Apr-22
eBooks Still Gaining Ground
Even though the recent survey by The Harris Poll reveals not-so-surprising data that Americans who read eBooks tend to read more, it is the percentage of the eReading citizens that significantly represents the higher acceptance rate of digital reading. The wide adoption of digital reading might also be seen as the rise of Amazon publishing business that has expanded into genre-specific imprints and digital comics.
The Poll That Says It All
Although I was unable to access the original source of the poll released by The Harris Poll, several websites have posted details about the news release that sings praise about eBook reading. Apparently, eReading has enabled readers to read endlessly without limiting themselves to print books. According to the poll, the data shows that 54% of Americans currently read eBooks while 84% have read at least one book (hardcovers, paperbacks, or eBooks) in a year. On average, Americans read 17 books a year. For those who read eBooks exclusively, it might not be surprising for them to be more likely (30%) to read more than 20 books in a year. Comparing to those who prefer reading print books, the percentage is slightly less at 18%. Considering the purchased books, the eBook readers tend to buy new books twice (14 books) as many as those who read print books with the average purchase of less than 7 books. However, the print version has not entirely lost its popularity when nearly half of the respondents (46%) say that they only read physical books.
Amazon’s Acquisition of ComiXology
In the aftermath of the comiXology’s acquisition, Amazon seems determined to spread its wings to diversify digital products in addition to its Amazon Publishing’s business expansion. But like any takeover, will Amazon totally change the digital comics platform’ business model and get involved in its self-publishing arm, Submit? Provided that Amazon has KDP and a comics imprint, keeping another self-publishing solution might be redundant. However, according to The Digital Reader that quoted Tim Gibson, author who publishes Moth City with Submit, who posted his opinion on Bleeding Cool, Tim doubts whether Amazon will change anything but the platform has seen some growth. Despite the comics and graphic novels commanding a mere 1% of digital sales based on Hugh Howey’s author earnings data, the market still has potential for content creators to create new stuff and monetize content. Recently, a Wired article tends to quell the looming accusation that the acquisition might destroy the digital comics business.
Amazon Publishing and an Author’s Criticism
Speaking of Amazon Publishing, Sarah Jane Gunter, Head of International Publishing, addresses their authors as customers that the company will focus on and provide the service to as she gave an interview with Digital Book World during the London Book Fair. For them to do their job well, the company believes that low prices and good customer service are two key elements for their customers. In terms of publishing, Gunter said that it meant “helping (their customers) find new audiences” and making “the book available to anyone who wants to buy them.” With further plan to recruit 70 new staff this year and penetrate into European market, translation of 200 English books into German and translation of foreign novels into English are parts of their plan. In the UK, Amazon Publishing has already published 11 titles after they acquired 26 ones. Interestingly, instead of witnessing the laurel being crowned on the company’s head, the first commenter took this opportunity to voice his criticism how they actually perceive and treat authors (their customers). Although the criticism takes a life of its own and gains certain level of nodding approval of fellow authors, it is equally undeniable that the benefits earned on Amazon is worth investing their time and effort in to boost their presence and sales comparing to traditional publishers’ offer and other sales channels.
Keep Calm and Read eBooks
With the instantaneous availability of eReaders and convenient access to eBooks at their fingertips, it might not be surprising how readers will read more. The percentage of Americans who read eBooks and the fluency to read more books can already facilitate them to embrace digital reading more profoundly and significantly. While the print book will remain relevant in our daily life, eBooks will certainly become a medium that readers can spend more time with especially when they can be exposed to their genre-specific titles. With regards to the company that is behind the success of self-publishing and putting eBooks on the map, the comiXology’s acquisition can be seen as one example how Amazon pays attention to content. Despite its imprints expanding locally and internationally to attract new readers, it seems Amazon should take note their customers’ feedback to see new improvements in their services.
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