Future Growth of E-books Business: Where are they Heading?

January 18, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

E-books are being sold like hot cakes. If you thought the industry has sort of matured, and Apple and Amazon have a hand in it, you are right about the second part. We are not saying e-books are not awesome, but just passing on what the founder of e-books publisher FlatBooks, Trey Ratcliff says.

According to Ratcliff, there are two emergent behaviors that will increase the rate of overall consumption of e-books. Considering these two behavior patterns, he says e-books can really take off.

One aspect about the whole thing is that most e-book projections are wrong. It is anticipated that for every $1 billion lost in the traditional book business that $1 billion will be gained in the e-book business. But Ratcliff says that the ratio is actually closer to 1-to-2, because e-books are easy to buy and download, more like music now.

E-books are also more efficient in the way they communicate ideas. Also, instructional e-books, those published by FlatBooks, can say it all in about 50 pages.

Most authors can tell you all you need to know about a subject in 50 pages. The reason that many instructional books in bookstores are 300 pages is so they look impressive and thick.

The next one is the effect of social networks, which disregards the old style of marketing. Ratcliff says the best way to successfully market something is to have true believers with big followings talk about it on the Internet. This kind of behavior just doesn’t happen when people walk into a Barnes & Noble, he added.

There will be as many strange business models for marketing e-books as we see with music today. The marketing of these e-books will become increasingly social.

Ratcliff says the spread of good books has always been a word-of-mouth phenomenon. Now, with social media, e-books are word-of-mouth-on-steroids.

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