Round up #279: abandoned Goldfinch, Apple to win appeal?
The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.
Mass market paperback sales down 30%…in one year
According to this
e-book sales continued to gain on printed books.
I’ve written before about how e-books have largely taken over the market niche of mass market paperbacks, seen as the inexpensive way to get books.
The growth for e-book sales isn’t as meteoric as it was. For adult trade books (the ones you buy in bookstores…not textbooks…that’s also where the 30% drop happened in mass market paperbacks), they grew half a percent year over year. Still, that’s growth…where other formats saw losses.
Children’s books (including Young Adult) seem to be compensating, meaning growth for the year.
Worth noting: the market share for e-books for adult trade is about half what it is for children’s books. That’s something else I’ve observed before: I think adults currently like to give physical books to kids, but I think in ten to twenty years, that will have changed considerably.
Could Apple win its e-book case on appeal?
Well, well, well.
It looks like it is possible (some even think likely) that Apple will win its appeal of its conviction in the Department of Justice’s e-book case. There is a lot of buzz on this: here is one article
Essentially, they argue that Judge Denise Cote blew it, and misinterpreted the law.
What happens if Apple does win?
It doesn’t invalidate anything else that’s already happened, as I understand it. The other publishers which have settled gave up the right to appeal (again, I’m not a lawyer, but that’s my lay understanding of them making the agreement). The states’ Attorneys General case is also separate.
An Apple attorney made an interesting argument that the prices went up after the Apple deal because Amazon had been using its monopolistic power to keep prices low.
For me, that’s why the appeal might fail. Typically, anti-trust law is used to protect consumers, not producers (like publishers). I’m not sure a court is going to find that a monopoly which is making things better for consumers is doing something wrong…not that I’m saying Amazon was a monopoly in e-books (just really, really big).
We’ll keep an eye on this.
“…the book is back”
The book never went away. 🙂
Oh, in some segments it shed its corporeal body and became a being of light (digital, at least), but the book has always been there…and I my strong guess is that more people are reading books now than they were five years ago.
The headline quote, though, is from this interesting
and is attributed to James Daunt, Chief Executive of the Waterstones bookstore chain in the UK.
I supposed one could say the business leader is “undaunted”, but that could get me in trouble in China. 😉
I recommend the article. I’m a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager, so perhaps it’s a bit more in my wheelhouse, but I think anyone might find it intriguing.
Waterstones has stabilized, and may see growth.
We can’t say the same thing about Barnes & Noble at this point.
I wonder if chain bookstores are going to be more likely to thrive outside the USA?
Digital adoption in many countries is actually higher than in the US…but that doesn’t necessarily go for e-books. The last I heard, the Japanese were slow to adopt them, for example.
Bestselling doesn’t mean most completed
Kobo has released (although I’ve looked, and can’t seem to find the full report) data on which books are bestselling for them in 2014…and which ones are completed the most.
That might be creepy, but yes, an e-book platform can typically tell how far you’ve read into a book (at least up to your last sync).
After all, how else could Amazon let you sync to the “farthest page read”?
According to this
fewer than half of the people (44%) who start reading Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize winner
The article suggests that might be because of the length, but they also note that only 28% of readers of Solomon Northrup’s
finish it, and that’s about a quarter the length of Goldfinch.
I suspect it has more to do with people who aren’t serious readers getting those bestselling books, and often as gifts.
A lot of books are given as gifts. You can see how someone might give Northrup’s book as a gift to someone who loved the movie. That recipient might intend to read all of it, but just might not have the habit (and skill) of reading a book to start to finish.
Does it take skill?
I think so. I think those of us who read a lot have a lot of skills in finding the time and opportunity to do it!
Like a lot of things, you need to practice to be a great reader…many people can read, but not many people can average several books a month.
I also think people buy some of those bestsellers aspirationally: they’d like to read the book, they think they would be a better person if they read the book…the reality just overwhelms the intent.
I guess I’m saying that bestselling books are more likely than micromarket books to be started by someone who just isn’t likely to finish any book.
As I’ve written before (I’m saying that a lot this time! I guess that happens after more than five years of writing the same blog), I always finish every book I read…eventually.
I know that’s not true for many of you…you feel like you are wasting your time if you keep reading a book you don’t like. There are other books to read.
I understand that attitude…it’s just sort of the principal of the thing for me.
For example, I just finished reading a book…and I gave it one star in my
something I’ve never done before. According to Goodreads, that means I “didn’t like it”. Well, that’s true…despite thinking that it was well-written in some ways, I was offended by it. That’s not easy to do: I’m not somebody who is easily offended.
I have to say, though, that I was sorry when a commenter said they had deleted it unread based on my review.
I don’t want to hurt the author with the review…but I did want to give my honest opinion of it.
I read the whole book. Others might like it (it has an average of over three stars out of five at Goodreads, and 3.5 stars at Amazon).
I know, I know: I haven’t named the book here. When I polled my readers, book reviews by me weren’t one of their favorite parts of this blog, so I started doing them at Goodreads. I think naming the book here might have a bigger impact on it…if you are curious, you can read the review at the link above.
At any rate, I’m not surprised that the bestselling books are not the most finished. 🙂
What do you think? Are mass market books doomed? Are bookstores saved? Are you more likely to finish a book you bought for yourself than a book someone else gave you? Will Apple win on appeal? Should they? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.
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