September 23rd, 2009

Bird in bush

eBook proverb: A bird in the hand . . .

is worth two in the bush. When Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol came out in hardcover, it came out in Kindle format at the same time, and for $9.99. TLS did so well in first-day Kindle sales, some folks thought this showed ebooks as the wave of the future. At this point Kindle sales are still considerably less than print, specifically 100,000, copies while print is at two million. Regardless of the future, I think this illustrates some points about the present state of ebook buying:

 1) eReader owners want ebooks, not print books
 2) pricing the ebook version of a new hardcover at $9.99 doesn't cannibalize print sales in any significant way
 3) eBooks need to come out at the same time as the print to take advantage of any buzz

So really, for Dan Brown, it was 100,000 ebooks in hand, versus an unknown number that might be hiding in eReader bushes. The two million mark for the hardcover might be said to make this seem like small potatoes, but that is still a heck of a lot of potatoes (I am mixing metaphors, I know).

And as of now, TLS is still number 1 in the Kindle store, ahead of a lot of free ebooks.

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