business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The Chicago Tribune reports this morning on a fascinating statistic, courtesy of the Pew Research Center: that one in five Americans read an e-book during the past year, and that “four times more U.S. readers, or 15 percent, were reading e-books on a typical day now compared with less than two years ago.”

A couple of other interesting notes from the Pew report:

“People who use e-books are more voracious readers of books of all kinds, with 88 percent of those reading e-books in the previous 12 months also consuming printed books.”

“They also are more likely to be under the age of 50, have some college education and live in households that make more than $50,000 a year.”

The story goes on to note that “The e-book industry has grown from $78 million in sales in 2008 to $1.7 billion in 2011, according to Albert Greco, a book industry expert at Fordham University. He has estimated e-book sales will be $3.55 billion in 2012.

“Forrester, a consultancy, has forecast that nearly a quarter of Americans will own an e-book reader by 2016. With prices for top models below $100, the readers ‘are a no-brainer for more and more consumers,’ it said in a report.”

And here’s the Eye-Opening kicker:

Amazon has about 65 percent of the e-book market.

That said ... independent booksellers are not going gentle into that good night.

The Arizona Republic reports on a new weapon that independents are bringing to the war against Here’s how it frames the story:

“Independent booksellers have been fighting to survive since the advent of the superstores like Barnes & Noble. But as the rising popularity of e-books is shaking up the industry once again, the indies have a new weapon in their battle against archenemy

“It's called the IndieBound Reader, a free app for smartphones and tablets that comes with a controversial pricing scheme pioneered by Apple, and it allows local outlets such as Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe to sell e-books to their customers at the same price as the online retail giant.”

These numbers represent a consumer shift as well as a cultural shift. Nothing is as it was.

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