Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Economy Drives Book Sales Down

I receive a variety of book and book-business related e-mails and RSS feeds and they are all in agreement that the downturn of the economy has resulted in a likewise direction for book sales at all the major retailers such as Barnes & Noble, Borders and Books-a-Million. Even with all the 40% off coupons and offers I receive from various booksellers, it is still hard to justify the expense of a hardback (and sometimes even a paperback) book when personal operating funds are on the low side, especially for a "pleasure read."

Amazon offers some really good price breaks, but I always try to get that total over $25 to qualify for the free shipping. In doing so, I'm still shelling out more money than I'm comfortable with for anything other than a gift for someone else or a "professional" book that contributes to my writing.

But I think Cindy had the right idea a year ago when she asked me for a Kindle for Christmas; e-books are an economical way to keep up with your reading "fix", especially for those books we read only for pleasure. The MOST EXPENSIVE BOOKS Cindy has downloaded would be brand new bestsellers for $9.99, the majority of others are $5 to $7 each and some are even less. When you consider that a hardback bestseller can typically go for $30, it's easy to see the appeal of the e-book format, over and above the convenience of storage and transportation. I think her Kindle paid for itself after the 20th book download she purchased.

In addition, among writers there is a lot of discussion going on about moving from print and web formats to e-book formats and self-publishing. Quite a few writers have gone that route, selling their creations directly through their websites. It's not nearly as lucrative as having an in-demand print book on the shelves, but it's a more immediate positive feedback and not nearly as many roadblocks to getting out a dead tree creation.

What do you think? Would you consider utilizing a $350 Kindle or other e-book reader if it allowed you to enjoy your reading needs (or wants, lol) at a reduced cost in the long run? How about purchasing a writer's work directly from them in an e-book form?

1 comment:

AnnMarie said...

I like the Kindle but I like owning books too. However I could see reading a book on there first to see if it was something I wanted to own before I paid the retail book cost.

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