Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Simba Information: Waterstones' deal with Amazon will be " of the biggest screw-ups in the history of book retail"

Book Business has an interview with Simba Information Senior Analyst Michael Norris, whose company just published its Trends in Trade Book Retailing study. Norris reiterates something that I've been saying for a while: eBooks aren't growing the publishing market--they're just cannibalizing print sales. Further, print sales are falling faster than eBook sales are growing, so at best, eBooks are slowing the market's overall rate of decline.

Norris says that Barnes & Noble's relative success in the eBook business has a great deal to do with its stores, and with its promotion of Nook hardware and accessories in those stores. He's puzzled by B&N's decision to break its Nook business away from the rest of the company--and even more puzzled by Waterstones' decision to partner with Amazon for Kindle eReaders and tablets. Norris compared Waterstones' deal to Borders' disastrous decision to outsource its online eBookstore to Amazon, and said "...I’ve really got to hand it to companies like Amazon, they know how to kill a competitor and make it look like suicide." He added, "It’s going to be one of the biggest screw-ups in the history of book retail."

When asked what book retailers that sell eBooks can do, Norris said "I urge every retailer who does sell ebooks to buy one of their own ebooks and then buy the same or similar ebook from Amazon, then think...about what kind of experience is going to make people come back. "
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