The Shatzkin Files
He’s completely correct. Up until 15 years ago (the dawn of Amazon), only books that were on store shelves had much chance at all to sell. The biggest and most successful publishers today are still the ones which ascended because of their power to put books on those shelves. It is not the publishers’ fault or doing that this is changing.
Longtime industry executive and consultant Joe Esposito wrote a post around the Borders bankruptcy that makes this general point: publishers are part of an ecosystem that is changing in ways they can’t control.
The growth in ebook sales is not an unbroken line pointing up. Industry stats suggest that sales may even have slowed a bit in September compared to August. But this is the time of year when we get the next step-increment change in the publishing reader-supply network. Starting in November, 2007, when Amazon put the Kindle on sale for the first time, the Christmas season has been when the huge leaps in device ebook reader distribution take place. That includes a huge ebook sales day on Christmas itself followed by a couple of months when ebook sales reach new peaks.
This is inevitably accompanied by bad news from the brick book trade. Last year’s first quarter included the bankruptcy filing of Borders. Stores fight hard to keep their doors open through the Christmas season but, with each passing year, if they’re not selling ebook reading devices, they find disappintment more often than salvation.
His full gloomy predictions here.