Based on industry forecasts, B&N sees the overall print book business falling from an estimated $21 billion in 2010 to $14 billion in 2015, while e-book sales rise to $7 billion from $1 billion.
This line is from a story that Publishers Weekly ran following a investor’s meeting at Liberty Media earlier this month.
Three things strike me as odd about these predictions:
- Barnes & Noble is betting overall ebook sales are going to grow 48% every year for the next five years.
- The book market is going to be unchanged during this digital transition. In 2010, it is $21 billion and in 2015, it is also going to be $21 billion with digital sales making up for all the losses in physical sales.
- Even if we can believe these numbers, this forecast gives little guidance to the path the market is going to take to get to this endpoint. Is the overall market going to dip and then recover? Are we going to sell two new digital copies for every lost sale of a physical copy to maintain overall sales? Will strong digital sales lead with sales of physical copies decline in the later years of the forecast.
Does this forecast seem incredibly vague and too convenient to be pausible?
I think, for example, in developing countries like India where the infrastructure for developing e-reading habits is accessible only to a small portion of people,both print and digital sales will coexist.But publishers will have to keep an eye on the pricing strategy.