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Has The Apple iPad Created a Tipping Point In The Publishing Industry?

Around the time Apple released the iPad to the market I wrote an article on April 14 titled ‘What 3 Industries Is The Apple iPad Threatening To Decimate“. One prediction was that the traditional publishing industry will be impacted in a major way. Let us fast forward three months.Has The Apple iPad Created a Tipping Point In The Publishing Industry

Shortly after the launch of the Apple iPad Amazon cut the price of the Kindle on June 21 from $259 to $189, since then there has been interesting numbers emerge on E-Book sales and the sales of the E-Book reader device from Amazon because it now quite obvious that competition is driving E-Book sales at an accelerating pace.

  • Over the past three months, it has sold 143 Kindle books for every 100 hardcover books sold
  • Over the past month, Amazon has sold 180 Kindle books for every 100 hardcovers sold (80% more than hardcover books)
  • Amazon has sold three times as many Kindle books in the first half of 2010 as in the first half of 2009.
  • The growth rate of sales for the Kindle had tripled since the company cut the e-reader’s price from $US259 to $US189 a month ago

Jeff  Bezos certainly thinks we have reached a paradigm shift in the publishing market by saying “We’ve reached a tipping point with the new price of Kindle”. He also said that the sales of hardcover books had not declined.

It is certainly not the demise of the publishing industry but companies that are in the space that are heavily reliant upon hardcover sales must be  considering (if they haven’t already) overhauling their business  model.

The digital revolution is certainly a constant trend of industry ‘disrupt’!

Have you bought a Kindle or iPad or thinking of it?

[polldaddy poll=3498536]

Image by Charis Tsevis

Jeffbullas's Blog


  • Apple on it’s way to the top and unfortunately could obliterate alot of opposition. Similarly to how facebook should be allowed such power on the social networking side.

  • mmmm, interesting! I definitely will not be buying a kindle, I prefer real books. love to feel the paper, the sound of turning a page, the smell of a new book. love the history of a 2nd hand book. also in my opinion you cant take a kindle to bed, but you can take a good book and a cup of tea! I would thought very much like an Apple iPad simply coz they look pretty cool.

  • Whether it’s Apple or someone else, the publishing industry is indeed about to go through some very big changes, just depends on when they decide to embrace them…

  • Dig a little more. Buried in Amazon’s release about skyrocketing Kindle book sales was the fact that while Amazon’s Kindle e-book sales were up, so were hardcover sales. More e-books and more hardcovers sold, both at the same time. Hmm. . .

    That’s just on Amazon. But traditional print publishing is having a very good year overall. Traditional book publisher’s sales are up almost 10 percent over last year, driven by strong sales in the Adult Hardcover category, says the Association of American Publishers. According to their stats, at the same time e-book sales were rocketing, adult trade hardcover (those are the new books you see in bookstores) was also zooming along, with sales up more than 20 percent over last year. Of course, last year’s sales were dismal, but hmm. . . .

    Add this anecdotal info: while Knopf announced that Kindle sales for Stieg Larsson’s most recent book, “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest,” have topped sales of the hardcover — more than a million of Larsson’s three thrillers have sold in e-book versions — at the same time, sales of the author’s books are also setting records in paperback and audio. Hardcover sales of the most recent entry, the publisher said, had not been hurt by the e-edition.

    We’ll see how it all parses out. But put it all together and you get a counter-intuitive notion: That e-books might expand the universe of readers — something publishers desperately need — and thereby help underwrite print.

    • Well now. Doesn’t that sound just like the time, long ago, when the movie industry was afraid that VHS sales would cannibalize movie theater sales — and instead, sales of both increased?

  • Definately appears to be a self-fulfilling prophecy as we continue to see the growth of communications through technology, we’re also building an impatient market with a great deal of A. D. D. .. attention deficit disorder – all joking aside, might not be a disorder but as this resurgence and ease of information is readily available faster than a speeding printer, it will be that much more difficult to justify the cost of print and its return .. I still love my books, and will continue to purchase them as I too love the sound of a turning page, or taking a highlighter to make my notes.. but there are new audiences, that can do without, and as these changes continue to evolve so will there be a continued reliance or redefined need to have the accessible information so that multi-tasking can be achieved.. it makes more sense..intuitively speaking..

  • Have to agree with with Praz – publishers have had ways to leverage social networks, by using digital editions for several years now. Fact is there are very few publishers that are able to innovate their operations at the same speed as the technology industry moves. Long term in the publishing industry is 3-5 years – 6 months would be a long term strategy when effectively dealing with changes in technology.

    We are also talking about a very cash strapped industry – developing APPs that work in the way Wired magazine works requires a lot of investment, and man hours to develop. It will also mean new members of staff that have the know how to work with the relevant softwares unless they are happy to work with existing softwares that can help get collateral online and to new devices that arrive on the market.

    Publishers need to be prepared to get to know this new marketplace – they need to rethink what can be monetized and what their ads are now worth – they need to know what can be achieved and at how much they are prepared to invest to get results. Although digital versions for online are relatively much cheaper than creating and distributing print material, publishers tend to feel comfortable with the same operations they have been running, despite the fact that their businesses are failing. Don’t be dinosaurs. I have an iPad – it is the most impressive way to view an online edition – I want more content designed to be read on this device.

    Publishers – people love content – the boom of social networks and blogs is testimony that people want information from trusted sources 24/7 – you represent some of these resources , you have a great medium for delivering content – you just need to follow your readers online! Grant Coleman gco@zmags.com

  • I dont think e-books will replace print any more than IPods replaced home stereos. If anything, the combo increased enthusiasm for music, the same way the publishing choices today appear to be increasing enthusiasm for long-form reading (thank heavens!).

    I go happily back and forth between my iPad (with Kindle software) and the cheap books I can find on Amazon Marketplace. I love both routes for different reasons.

    • good call Nina – I hope publishers realize that digital editions are not a threat to print – they are just a way to make their content more accessible. Create a buzz, create good content, and people will buy it, and they will read it in the medium that makes the most sense to them.

  • As far as your survey, there should be an option for people to indicate both as purchases. I own both. Other people I know own both. The Kindle is so affordable compared to the iPad that if you can afford the one, you can most likely tack on another 100 bucks for the other, without much additional financial pain.

  • Amazon has also benefitted from the iPad and iPhone Apps. Reported that 20% of eBook readers on Amazon do not use the Kindle.

    Kindle’s price cut was a direct result of BN’s nook being priced at $199.

  • I own both the kindle and the iPad. I use my kindle account and the kindle app to read books from amazon on my iPad. In addition, two of my own books are amazon ebooks…quite a thrill for me. Anyway, I don’t see a competion as much as collaboration.

    I’ve been a big reader of books for most of 50 years, but I don’t appreciate the smell or texture of books on paper. With the exception of special (coffee table) books, they are largely printed on cheap and increasingly thinner paper. When I travel, I am so much happier to slip my kindle or iPad into my bag rather than carry 10 paper books in my luggage.

    Btw, I own one of the first e-readers…the rocket ebook! Can’t get books for it anymore and it’s huge compared even with the iPad.

  • Jack W Perry

    I read somewhere that 40% of all ebooks bought on the iPad were through the Kindle app. Kindle has 65-70% of the overall market.

  • Kloomis

    I totally love reading books on my iPad & having my entire collection w/ me everywhere, but I miss the increasing pile of books on my shelf to share w/ family!

  • Jessica

    Please check out, Rise of The Third Son, by Steve James on Amazon. BEST EBOOK EVER!

  • andrew

    The only downside is that its much harder to share a digital book. Can’t lend someone an Ipad to read a book.