e-books threaten print

Writing in The Australian Financial Review, Rachael Bolton reports on the challenges facing traditional book publishers as e-book readers grow in popularity. She says 2009 was the watershed year for e-book readers and for e-book sales.

Bolton said e-books have yet to take off in Australia (story behind paywall) because of the poor range of available titles. This is also true in New Zealand.

She says experts expect sales to take off when e-books arrive, possibly early next year.

So, e-books are coming to Australia and New Zealand in volume. Their arrival will change the economics of publishing.

If anything e-books will see margins drop, at least for traditional publishers. They will trim their lists to compensate. Hopefully the disruption and lower cost of entry will see hungry newcomers emerge to replace them.