Round up #234: kids read e-books, “bigger than Kindle”
The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.
Census Bureau: bookstore sales drop 1.7%
The Census Bureau regularly releases sales figures, and the numbers are out for the first 11 months of 2013 versus the first 11 months of 2012.
The bookstore figure went down from $11,913,000,000 to $11,707,000,000 (I think I’m doing those zeroes right)…down about 1.7%.
For retail stores, where the margin may not be that big to begin with, that’s a big drop.
It’s also important to note that Barnes & Noble, for example, cited considerable growth in some non-book items in its holiday report. It’s likely that traditionally published paperbooks (p-books) being sold in bookstores saw a considerably bigger drop in 2013. I think we’ll see that accelerate in 2014…especially if we can get unit numbers. I expect the price of paperbooks to generally climb in 2014.
General retail, by the way, was rising during the same period…
Two thirds of children now read e-books
Here is one likely contributor to a reduction in bookstore sales.
According to this
2/3rds of children who are readers read e-books. Now, that doesn’t mean that they read them exclusively, but it is up from 54% last year.
Looking at the figures broken out by age group, the younger the child, the more likely they are to read e-books at least once a day, with the two to five year old group at 50%.
Now, a two- year old isn’t going to be actually reading the book…at that age, they’d be more likely to be using board books in the physical world, and perhaps importantly, interactive books on tablets.
Still, the trend that the younger the child, the more e-books, bodes ill for bookstores in the future.
Children’s books are a very important part of the revenue stream for most brick-and-mortar bookstores (I speak as a former manager). They are often given as gifts, and people will pay more for them (although they may also cost more to produce for the publisher).
Class action suit against Barnes & Noble
Are you a Barnes & Noble stockholder? You may want to get involved in a class action suit against the bookseller:
Here is a short excerpt of the release:
“The complaint alleges that during the Class Period, Barnes & Noble issued materially false and misleading statements regarding the Company’s financial performance and future business prospects. Specifically, the complaint alleges that defendants misrepresented or failed to disclose: (1) Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-book reader sales had dramatically declined; (2) the Company would shutter its Nook manufacturing operations altogether; (3) the carrying value of the Nook assets were impaired by millions of dollars; (4) the carrying value of the Nook inventory was overstated by $133 million; (5) the Company was expecting fiscal 2014 retail losses in the high single digits; (6) Barnes & Noble had over-accrued certain accounts receivables; (7) Barnes & Noble was unable to provide timely audited financial results for fiscal 2013; and (8) the Company might be forced to restate its previously reported financial results.”
As I’ve mentioned before, the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) has been looking into Barnes & Noble.
None of that is good for them…
In related news, I keep seeing people asking when they’ll get the money from the successfully settled class action suit against the publishers. I also hear people complaining that it’s been repeatedly been pushed back.
Here is Amazon’s
- Customer FAQ for Attorneys General E-book Settlements
- at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*
Judge Denise Cote approved the settlement on December 6th. There was a thirty-day period after that, and then there is some essentially administrative time for companies to get the payments together:
My guess? Early February, from Amazon…
Amazon working on something “bigger than Kindle”?
Well, here is an intriguing
It has what appears to be a fascinating invitation from Amazon’s “Kindle New Initiative” team to an event which was scheduled for December 30th.
In it, they say they are working on a new product that will be “…bigger than Kindle”.
Obviously, there isn’t a lot of information in the invitation, but it does say it is a product, not a service…and the host does have “Kindle” in the title.
What could it be?
It might not be that hard to have something that has bigger sales than the Kindle, but it would be harder to have something that was more disruptive to an industry or more noted by the media.
Sure, it could be a phone…but would that be bigger news? Maybe if it was 3-D (which has been rumored).
Could it be a TV gadget? Yes, that could fit the bill. The Google Chromecast has already outsold the Kindles…at Amazon. If they could do something that disrupted network TV delivery, that would be big enough to be considered bigger than the Kindle. A lot more people watch TV than read books.
The big money in an industry to change would be videogames, but I would guess that is less likely.
I’ve joked about some of those.
I just tried to look a little bit more into “Kindle New Initiatives”. One thing: apparently, December 30th was a mistake…they meant January 30th. That, or they are working on time travel.
I will tell you this: I didn’t get an invitation…yet. My adult kid does live in the Boston area, Amazon, if that makes it any easier.
What do you think? What, if anything, could reverse the slide in bookstore revenue? Are interactive e-books the new board books? What could Amazon be working on? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.
Nominate a child to be given a free Kindle at Give a Kid a Kindle.
* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help!
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.