Digital Book Sales Down

Third quarter digital book sales, which include e-books and audio books, were down 11.8% at HarperCollins and 10.7% at Simon & Schuster compared to the same period in 2014. Audio books have been showing increasing sales overall, so the decline is probably associated entirely with e-books.

Publishers Weekly, November 6, 2015

Devices for Reading

Ownership of dedicated E-book readers (Kindle, Nook, etc.) has dropped to 19% of U.S. adults, and 18% of those between 18 and 29 years of age, from a high of 32%. Tablet computer ownership has continued to grow, however, with 45% of adults, and 50% of those 18 to 29, owning tablets, while smart phones are now owned by 68% of adults and 86% of those 18 to 29. E-book sales have remained roughly constant at 510 million units,so the numbers suggest a movement from dedicated E-book readers to other devices.

Device data are from the Pew Research Center report Technology Ownership:2015, October 29, 2015. E-book sales data are from the Association of American Publishers.

New Seattle Bookstore

Amazon is opening a 5,500-square-foot bookstore in Seattle, with 5,000 to 6,000 discounted titles. Selections will be based on Amazon’s extensive data and will include reviews and ratings from the online site. (Seattle Times, November 2)

E-Books in France

Electronic books account for only two percent of book sales in France, according to the New York Times (Nov 2, 2015).  France, where publishers are able to fix the price of books in stores and online,  has more independent book stores than the United States.

Now you see it…

“In 1997, the average lifespan of a web page was 44 days; in 2003, it was 100 days. Links go bad even faster. A 2008 analysis  of links in 2,700 digital resources … found that about 8 percent of links stopped working after one year. By 2011  … 30 percent of links in the collection were dead.” Adrianne Lafrance, “Raiders of the Lost Web,” The Atlantic, October 14, 2015


Yes to Libraries!

65% of Americans 16 years of age and older believe that closing their local public library would have a major impact on their communities, but only 46% visited a library or bookmobile in 2014. From the Pew Research Center report “Libraries at the Crossroads,” September 15, 2015.

Book Sharing

Should folks who want to set up a “Take one, return one” free mini-lending library outside their houses or along the side of the road require a permit? Conor Friedersdorf, in the February 20, 2015 issue of the Atlantic, has a report of the problems that people young and old have had with local zoning ordinances when they simply wanted to help their neighbors share books.

Paid Editing?

The editor of a Wikipedia article on medical devices discovered attempts to change the description of 13WSZXDE45TFCkyphoplasty, a back procedure, from “controversial” to “well documented and studied.” The writer was an employee of a company that manufactured the (expensive) device. So begins an Atlantic article by Joe Pinsker on “paid editing” of Wikipedia articles, and what it means for reliability of information.


Iraq: Saving History

The National Library of Iraq in Baghdad is digitizing it’s collection, including many documents from the Ottoman period. According to an article in Lebanon’s The Daily Star (August 5, 2015), the project has taken on urgency because of the threat to the holdings by the current insurgency, which has already resulted in the destruction of books and manuscripts in Mosul. Thousands of documents from the National Library were lost following the US-led invasion in 2003.

Ebook Reading

Fifty-four percent of ebook buyers sometimes read on their smartphones, according to a Nielsen survey in late 2014, up from twenty-four percent in 2012. Fourteen percent 2012 read primarily on their phones.