Sunday, October 27, 2013

Time, Digital & Money Smack Publishers

USA Today/Bookish recently conducted a survey about America’s reading habits. The big statistic buried in the research is this:

51% said the number one reason they don’t read more books is a lack of time.

The next big stat:
40% of adults own an e-reader or tablet.

Indeed, the biggest influences on the industry are:
1)      Price: Books are so cheap or free, that few have time to buy more books.
2)      Digital: More people have devices and more are buying e-books, which are lower-priced.
3)      Youth: The younger generation doesn’t know what paper is, compared to older generations. 60% of college students surveyed have a tablet/e-reader

However, the good news is that e-reading individuals say they read more books than they used to. Still, they are not spending as much on e-books as they would have for fewer print books.

Perhaps the French have a solution?

France wants to pass a law that would force online booksellers to sell at higher prices than brick and mortar stores. How does it enforce such a law? It would ban any bookseller from applying government-regulated discounts to the prices of books that are shipped to readers. Sellers would only be able to mark down the cost of shipping.

France isn’t doing this because it loves printed books, but because it wants to keep tax-paying stores in business and to keep American-based companies, such as Amazon, from influencing its people.

Politics or tax revenue aside, is such a plan the right thing to do? Does publishing now need the help of government to save it? The opposite has happened in the US, when the government here forced Apple and others not to work with publishers on setting e-book pricing. The result is book prices are plummeting here. Soon, the “free economy” will truly be “free,” as in books will become nearly worthless.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

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