Barnes & Noble/Nook update – US eBooks showing exponential growthPosted: June 22, 2011
Normally I just tweet links like this one from my @frontofstore Twitter account, but I felt there were more than 140 characters of insight to be drawn from this piece from MocoNews.
- The superlatives regarding eBooks keep stacking up. This report states that eBooks are now outselling hardcovers 3 to 1 on bn.com, Barnes & Noble’s online division. You’ll recall that it’s less than a year since Amazon put out their first “eBooks outselling hardcovers” story in the US. Now we’re looking at a three-fold difference.
- Of course, eBooks and hardcovers aren’t directly competing with one another. The biggest eBook sellers are genre fiction, through traditional publishers and self-published authors. Many hardcovers – art books, cookery etc – don’t lend themselves easily to eBook transformation.
- The average selling price of an eBook is way lower than that of a typical hardcover. B&N’s online hardcover bestsellers are priced around the $16 mark. Their Nook (eBook) bestsellers tend to run at around $9.99. Over 2 million titles (?!?) appear to be available as eBooks for under $5.
- Nook has a market share of 27% in the US, with Amazon’s Kindle holding 60-65% of the market. That’s a big gap between players, but B&N has achieved much more significant market penetration than any non-Amazon brand in the UK. Over here, Kindle is reckoned to have 80%+ share, with the rest of the market divided between many other offers.
- Total B&N.com sales increased by 65% last year. Not bad for a booksellers (a “dying format”) – you can see where a lot of the Borders superstore business is migrating to.
- Nevertheless, B&N still lost $59m in its last quarter – way better than Borders, but it underlines the cost of online bookselling. In the UK, Waterstone’s – which has issues of its own (see FoS passim), but which has resisted over-investing in the online provision of physical books or eBooks – is likely to post a decent year-end profit after some seasons of turbulence.
- Finally, B&N is on the block, with its board reviewing the Liberty Media offer, which is predicated more on the potential of its online competence, than the future of its superstores.
Now that’s what I call bricks and mortar. B&N at Baltimore Harbor, picture from thecitrusreport.com