On the Growth of eBook Sales

Michael Hyatt of Thomas Nelson, writing at The Christian Post thinks that many in the publishing industry are overestimating he growth of eBook sales, which an industry survey suggests will be 50% of book sales by 2014. He believes it will be closer to 25%, and in an update, cites another study that says 22.5% by 2015. He gives four reasons, all of which are valid.

Nonetheless I disagree. I think two factors tend to be underestimated. First, the improvements in technology, and second improvements in distribution, especially in transportability.

If we simply considered ebook reader sales, and reading text on one’s computer screen, Hyatt’s points are well taken. But as technology improves, we will also be seeing the difference between one’s desktop, laptop, and cell phone get blurred more and more. I now carry a small library on my Palm Pixi, including Bibles and a number of general reading books. The Palm Pixi is not that well adapted for reading, but I’m using it anyhow. Newer and better devices are improving readability.

I don’t think any of us can predict what reading will be like in 2015. I don’t expect print books to go away, but for a small publisher such as Energion, I expect that ebooks will change from being a nice extra to being the dominant release vehicle for new titles by that time.


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