There’s an interesting post on GigaOM predicting a rosy future for e-books. Its author, Trey Ratcliff, cites the attraction of much higher profit margins, thanks to disintermediation, the fact that readers do not substitute e-books for physical books one-for-one (hello, record and movie companies!!), and the marketing power of social media. His own experience of moving from authorship to e-book publishership was one of rapid revenue and profit growth. Lucky him – he obviously started from the base of a large online presence.
I’ve got no idea if I should agree with his forecast of the scale of likely growth. But I do think book publishers have learned some lessons from the terrible example set by the record companies, and they are innovating around what customers seem to want. However, the biggest likely stumbling block to an ultra-rapidly growing e-book market will be the bottleneck of the giant distribution platforms and their charging policies. That surely promises to be a fascinating anti-trust case down the road?