But wait. First we’ve read that e-books are contributing to the bankruptcies of small publishers in the U.K. And now comes word that Penguin Random House in the UK is shutting down its biggest distribution center because of the rise of e-books.
A spokeswoman said there has been an industry-wide decline in physical book sales, matched by an increase in ebook sales, but that overall sales were not in decline.
Penguin Random House said the proposed changes were also due to a decrease in distribution client publishers due to industry consolidation.
In the UK last year, £3,311 million worth of electronic and physical book sales were recorded by the Publishers Association – down two per cent on the previous year.
Of those, £2,748m million worth of printed books were sold – down five per cent -compared with £563million of digital books, showing an 11 per cent increase on 2013.
Unlike some, I don’t take pleasure in the suffering of the large publishers—I see room for houses of all sizes. Perhaps in time the big boys will get out of their denial mode and end e-book price gouges. Overpricing e-books will harm the giants’ revenue as readers forsake them for smaller publishers or library loans or nonbook-related forms of entertainment.
Related: Book readership slips—and Big Five mistakes could worsen matters, where I tell how Luddites fixated on the preservation of legacy infrastructure could harm all reading, not just the digital variety.