Monday, October 13, 2008

Pick Any Number

The fog finally lifted over Frankfurt this morning and two hours later than expected we touched down on all too familiar territory. On our arrival we logged on to read in The Bookseller bulletin which told us that the fog had obviously still not cleared at the Messe. The difference this time was that it was that other type – digital fog.

Frankfurt Book Fair has done one of those surveys you wish they hadn’t. They interviewed 1,000 industry professionals from 30 countries and the headlines were, that digital book sales would outstrip physical ones by 2018. We remember well Nigel Newton’s 50% of sales by 2016 of a couple of years ago. Apparently 70% felt ready for the digital challenge! Well it is Frankfurt and hype is rife!

The reality is that there is a low volume of digital content in the market today and that the majority of digital content is only produced after the physical copy is finished. Few have started to change their development process which in the main remain analogue and fixed in their nature. We clearly are still in ebook evolution with readers in transition but perhaps if we pick a date far enough ahead it will not matter and will soon be forgotten.

Interestingly, only 7% expected ebooks or 2% ereaders to be the main source of revenue by 2013. So we shall see lots of action between 2013 and 2018!

Perhaps one day we may get some consumer measures on awareness, demand, requirements and their views on digital. We bet it’s foggy at the airport again tomorrow

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