Ebook News Christmas Wrap-up

So the silly season has come and gone, bringing with it what is most likely the biggest shift in consumer behaviour in regards to ebooks that has ever occurred. As I’ve been saying for the past six months – the future isn’t just coming sometime soon, it’s already here. Here’s a wrap-up of the ebook news over the past couple of weeks that you might find useful.

As predicted, Amazon made great strides this Christmas into the ebook space. They announced that the Kindle is now their best-selling product of all time. This means it has outsold the final Harry Potter book, so we are talking millions of Kindles out there over the Christmas period. And due to the instantaneous nature of ebook purchasing, we’re quite likely to see a spike in ebook sales over the few days of the Christmas period – though we’ll likely have to wait a while before anyone releases those figures. Guestimates so far have pegged the number of books sold as close to 3 million, which is damned impressive.

A poll has shown that almost a third of internet users say they already have a Kindle or plan on buying one in the next year, and that 40% of iPad owners already have a Kindle or are planning to buy one – which seems to support the assertions of Jeff Bezos (Amazon’s CEO) that the Kindle and the iPad are not in direct competition.

All in all this has been a superb holiday period for Amazon’s Kindle – all the more reason to hope they don’t do anything (else) evil in 2011.

Google has hinted at a timetable for the Australian launch of the Google eBookstore initiative, indicating they may launch early this year.

The Borders/Kobo tagteam appears to be coming apart at the seams – at least one major publisher in the US has halted shipments to the embattled chain and Hachette are considering doing the same. This is bad news for Kobo, which has tied itself quite closely to Borders in the US and here in Australia (Australia’s REDgroup – which includes Angus & Robertson and Borders – has been considering cuts and facing disappointing sales for months).

Choice magazine has named the Sony Touch the best ereading device, which is good news for the ereader (and for the potential fortunes of other independent ereading devices that aren’t chained to a single retailer).

Forecasts are showing that tablet sales will more than double this year in the US, which is great news for Apple and the iPad, which will likely snap up a big chunk of that.

2011 is shaping up to be the biggest year yet for digital reading. Thanks for reading in 2010, and I look forward to your comments and support if you decide to stick around this year. If there’s anything you’d like to see covered or analysed in more detail – let loose in the comments or get in touch on Twitter.

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Joel Naoum

Joel Naoum is a Sydney-based book editor, publisher, blogger and writer. He is passionate about the possibilities of social media and digital publishing opens up for authors, publishers, booksellers and the whole book industry.

5 thoughts on “Ebook News Christmas Wrap-up”

  1. Hi Joel, I’m sure you have blogged about this before but…I’m tossing up between a Sony and a Kindle, would you mind just quickly saying which you prefer and why? I got a Kobo for Christmas and had to get a very disappointed gift-giver to take it back because it does practically NOTHING. It makes a big deal about opening the ebook on the page you were last reading (surely the minimum functionality!) – but you can’t bookmark OTHER pages or underline, take notes, or anything like that. So I’m vastly better off so far with iBooks on my iPhone – completely free! The only downside is screen size and very short battery life. Anyway…if you have time, let me know what you think, thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Sophia. At the moment I’d still recommend a Kindle over a Sony. Although the Sony Touch is getting great reviews, if your object is to buy and read books, the Kindle platform is still the best bet. You can get free apps for iPhones and Android phones, and for your computer – and it syncs your place across devices. You can also annotate, bookmark, highlight and share passages on Facebook and Twitter. You are locked in to buying your books from Amazon, but as things stand that is not a disadvantage, and you can always crack the DRM on your books if you want to make sure they’re safely yours. They’re also much more competitively priced than the Sony (which is flashier, with a touch screen, but ultimately less useful, I’d argue). Good luck with whatever you decide!

  2. Thanks Joel, I appreciate that! Will look into Kindle. Looking forward to continuing to read your blog in 2011.

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