Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Random CEO Writes on Year's Highlights - and iPad v Kindle

From PublishersLunch

Random House ceo Markus Dohle writes to employees worldwide to "celebrate a good fiscal year for Random House worldwide despite the hurdle of ailing economies in most of our territories." Among the highlights, the Stieg Larsson Millennium trilogy is "on course to sell 14 million copies in 2010" in the US across all formats, with another 2 million trade paperbacks and e-books in Germany.

Worldwide digital sales are expected to be up by 250 percent over 2009, and in the US he acknowledges that "for some of our fall publication titles, nearly half of the overall first-week sales have been in the e-book format."

Here is an excerpt from his letter:
“LA CAÍDA DE LOS GIGANTES by Ken Follett, published by Random House Mondadori, is 2010’s biggest-selling Spanish-language novel. We expect that we’ll continue to enjoy huge sales in 2011 from this autumn’s books by Lee Child, Umberto Eco, Nora Ephron, Ina Garten, John Grisham, Stephen Hawking, Laura Hillenbrand, Lauren Kate, Nigella Lawson, Tim Mälzer and Eckart Witzigmann, Barack Obama, Terry Pratchett, and Jay-Z, among many others. The unequaled sales momentum for the Stieg Larsson Millennium trilogy has proven unstoppable these past twelve months and we are on course to sell 14 million copies in 2010 in multiformats in the U.S.—and 2 million more trade paperbacks and e-books in Germany.”


Early Consumer Interviews Indicate People Prefer iPad Reading Experience, Amazon Store

As we have mentioned before, the upcoming Digital Book World conference starting January 24 will include a number of specially-commissioned data presentations, including analysis from Verso Digital, an executive survey from Forrester Research, a special survey of literary agents, and a qualitative study of the e-reading habits of multi-function device users (tablets; cell phones; etc.) from iModerate.

We've been shown some of the early anecdotal findings of iModerate, which conducts in-depth interviews with a small group of people (which separates them from broad consumer surveys, which are subject to respondents' tendency to not actually know their own habits that clearly.) These results are in preparation for a deeper survey in January (after the holidays create many new users).

In their conversations, they found that many people "got started with ebooks because they found an app on a new phone or iPod, or tried a friend's ereader." Multiple respondents saw "all ereaders and multi-function devices as fundamentally similar--the paradigm shift from print to digital was so significant that the differences between reading on an iPod, a laptop and a Kindle are somewhat muted."

They found that "the iPad was preferred" over eInk devices "for its superior readability and sleek functionality." They add: "the general sentiment was that iPads are easier to read...due to the fact that its screen is both larger and more brightly lit than a Kindle, which some felt were too small and too dark." Amazon "as the dominant website for purchase due to overall brand familiarity and its detailed search function," though "with a few exceptions, respondents' purchasing habits were not yet deeply entrenched." People using small-screen devices (iPods, phones, etc.) liked the convenience for on-the-go and interstitial reading, despite some difficulties with the small screen size.

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