Digital books market grows at 66% as Nook discounts its eReaders by 48%

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The Book Publishers Association have today published their Annual Statistics Yearbook 2012.

We have generated our graphics with some additional help from them. Their digital* statistics go back as far as 2008, and “… earlier yearbooks only refer to physical books.” The figures are restated each year so may not correspond with previous years releases.

Fascinating reading, so as to speak. As is abundantly clear physical books are flatlining at about £3 billion per year whilst the overall market is growing at about a compound annual growth rate of some 1.5% entirely generated by digital.

Digital grew last year at 66% (51%) and now represents 8% (5%) of total sales. The digital compound annual growth rate we calculate as being a very impressive 42.5%. If it continued at that rate it would overtake physical book sales in 6 years time. We think it might do this within a decade but that physical will likely decline from its current levels.

At very much of an overview level the pattern, unsurprisingly is not dissimilar to retail sales with the added disruption of continuing device introductions from eReaders to tablets.

Talking of which we were amazed by the extent of Nook’s discounting yesterday of their eReaders (48%) and tablets (21%) in the UK.

  •  The Simple Touch eReader is down by £50 from £79 to £29 (63%)
  • ·The Glowlight is down by £40 from £109 to £69 (37%)
  •  Their HD 7inch tablet now starts at £129 down from £159 (19%)
  • The HD+ 9 inch tablet now starts at £179 down from £229 (22%)

So on a one off, of each basis, the saving would be £170 on £576 that’s 30% WOW.

It is linked to the  Get London Reading” project  and is stated to be for a limited time only

It would appear to us to be an ideal time to buy the entry level reader for £20 it’s “.. available throughout major UK retailers including Argos, ASDA, Blackwell’s, Foyles, Currys and PC World, John Lewis, Sainsbury’s and Very, as well as

* Digital formats, per The Publishers Association encompass ebooks, audiobooks downloads and online subscriptions. All sales figures include exports.

Disclosure: We have no commercial arrangements with Barnes & Noble

e Smartphones & iTV’s in the 2nd Half of 2013?

Dual smartphone, and single TV, screens from YotaPhone and Apple being announced / rumoured today.

The rather fascinating YotaPhone is scheduled to be showcased at Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress (February 25-28) with home country and worldwide availability scheduled for Q3 and Q4. It’s Russian and remarkable for having dual screens, a LCD on one side and an e ink display on the reverse. Rather than us providing all the detail we’ll leave it to our Russian friends with a little help from Scribd. YotaPhone

Not sure if it will fly or not and we aren’t dual screen fans BUT the concept of a switchable e ink screen and an LCD one does appeal so maybe as the technology develops some form of split screen might evolve. Who knows?

You may have noticed that Tim Cook in his recent NBC interview said  of TV “It’s :

  • a market that’s been left behind
  • an area of intense interest.”

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This has, possibly deliberately, fed the rumour mill with unsurprising research saying again that (at least in the US) consumers would pay a premium price for an Apple TV.

From AlphaWise via AppleInsider  an overall premium of  20% would be acceptable with an increased premium at the younger end (18-29) going to over 30%.

Today The Wall Street Journal  has rumours of Asian suppliers “… testing a few designs for a large-screen high-resolution TV.”


We had hoped that something would have appeared from Cupertino by now as our ancient but loved Bang & Olufsen cannot last forever!

Maybe just maybe this time next year……..

Apple TV mockup partially courtesy of CultofMac 

As one week closes another one opens

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Whilst the end of the print edition of Newsweek  was announced yesterday by its owners, effective December 31, comScore’s study aptly entitled “Tablets Reinvent Americans’ Relationship with Print” shows the sheer scale of the digital opportunities with nearly 40% of tablet owners reading “… newspapers and/or magazines on their device in August.” The even better news is that Magazines and Periodicals are more read than newspapers, in the case of Nook tablets by approaching 7%.

The Newsweek/Daily Beast press release through AP yesterday includes the following:

“The Daily Beast now attracts more than 15 million unique visitors a month, a 70 percent increase in the past year alone – a healthy portion of this traffic generated each week by Newsweek’s strong original journalism.

At the same time, our business has been increasingly affected by the challenging print advertising environment, while Newsweek’s online and e-reader content has built a rapidly growing audience through the Apple, Kindle, Zinio and Nook stores as well as on The Daily Beast. Tablet-use has grown rapidly among our readers and with it the opportunity to sustain editorial excellence through swift, easy digital distribution – a superb global platform for our award-winning journalism. By year’s end, tablet users in the United States alone are expected to exceed 70 million, up from 13 million just two years ago.”

So 70 million users 40% of whom read the likes of Newsweek at least monthly with 10% dipping in daily.

  • And that’s just the US – total worldwide iPad sales are now likely over 100 million (as we will learn definitively next week). With all the new entrants this quarter it is certainly a well populated market!
  • And that’s just tablets – with the new eReaders allowing us to read all day and all night there’s another huge device market.
  •  And then there’s all those smartphones.

So it’s not, in our opinion, all gloom and despondency, there’s a huge and growing market out there just waiting to be consumed!

Tina Brown (Editor-in-chief and Baba Shetty (CEO) discuss the digital only Newsweek decision.

Newsweek/Daily Beast Press release content via AP from

comScore – Tablets Reinvent Americans’ Relationship with Print

Keep an I on our week (Where’s the Mini iPad invite edition)

The top three articles this week were:

  1. A Nation’s Digital Future is Improving
  2. MiNi iPad – the Major Issues 
  3. Prime Spot for Harry Potter 

All the rumours of invitations to a MiNi iPad event arriving on October 10 for a October 17 reveal proved to be unfounded.

But now yet another “usually reliable source”, none other than All Things D (part of The Wall Street Journal) now predicts a break with recent tradition and a Tuesday October 16 invite to a Tuesday 23 event in Apple’s home town Cupertino in the Town Hall Auditorium.  This, in our view, is still pretty close to their results announcement due on the 25th but we shall, yet again, wait and see. A complete guess by us is that for some operational reason it has been delayed by a week.

In the meantime we’ve come across another Mini – that’s the Kobo MiNi eReader and it’s probably available from WH Smith in the UK for about £60 – to be honest we’re not quite sure about the size possibly too small – we shall see.

Here’s a, rather background noisy, video from their recent product launch – they are Canada based and now owned by Rakuten  (the sort of Japanese Amazon).

A Canny move by Nook and Barnsie (the Noble Bear)

Barnes & Noble to Offer Its Award-Winning NOOK® Products and Digital Content in the UK Starting This Autumn”. WELCOME!

Hopefully whilst not yet announced this will also include, during the upcoming holiday season, their range of, possibly expanded, tablets.

Barnes & Noble, per Wikipedia, are the largest book retailer in the US and B & N themselves claim “691 bookstores in 50 states ” and also “647 college bookstores” as well as indicating they are “ The worlds largest bookseller……” Full press release (pdf). They have an interesting history and in the last few years encountered, on both their digital and bookstore sides, quite a few challenges. Rumours of a split/sale of the Digital side of its business were certainly plentiful a while back.  but they subsequently formed a strategic partnership with Microsoft  which was generally well received.

B & Ns UK venture kicks off in mid-October with the offering of some of its range of eReaders and the “opening” of its new online storefront Promises of partnerships with leading UK retailers are also made in their press release. We comment below on this with a guess/suggestion as to who might be involved! Further eReaders will be added to their UK range “…. in time for the holiday shopping season”.

Pending the “opening” of their online “……expansive NOOK Store™ featuring more than 2.5 million digital titles – including top-selling UK books, newspapers and magazines – plus comics, exciting NOOK Apps and more. UK NOOK customers will be able to “Read what they love, anywhere they like™” on NOOK devices as well as their favorite mobile and computing devices using free NOOK reading apps. Purchased NOOK content is always safe and available through NOOK Cloud™. UK residents wishing to learn more about NOOK can visit”., you can browse, we must admit, their impressive US version.

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Their UK retailer links will be interesting when announced and, subject to pre-existing, contracts/arrangements we could see a potential fit with HMV (now that Waterstones has gone) and their Digital plans. Their recent Cambridge café might even complement Barnes & Noble’s numerous (650) in-store Starbucks! We shall see.

UPDATE – Barnes & Noble have just announced their Q1 2013 earnings (here’s their pdf of the segment revenues and earnings as it’s almost illegible in the link information). Initially after the opening their shares moved ahead but have dropped back into negative territory 4.15 BST. Nice ticker BKS.


NB Barnsie (the Noble bear) is the B & N bear who hopefully will also be available from their UK outlets!









We couldn’t help but notice the prolific use of TM’s and ® in Barnes & Nobles press release so for the avoidance of any doubt we respect them all!