The American Association of Publishers released their latest "monthly" Statshot report today and the news is generally good. Continue reading
From the press release:
Borders Group, Inc. (NYSE: BGP) today reported results for its second quarter ended July 31, 2010. Highlights include:
- Second quarter sales were $526.1 million, down 11.5% from the same period a year ago, with comparable store sales declining by 6.8%. Borders.com sales increased 56.2% over the prior year, to $15.5 million.
- The company generated a loss from continuing operations in the second quarter of $51.6 million or $0.74 per share compared to a loss of $45.1 million or $0.75 per share for the same period a year ago.
- Debt net of cash decreased compared to the first quarter by 13.7%, or $41.5 million. It increased by 2.7% compared to the second quarter of last year, to $262.1 million.
At this point it would be redundant to say they are doomed.
A total of 1.35 million e-book readers were shipped to the global market in the second quarter of 2010, 33.2% fewer than the originally projected 2.02 million units, chiefly because shipments of new models were delayed to the third quarter, according to Digitimes Research.
Barnes & Noble took the leading position in the second quarter with 33% market share, followed by Amazon's 27%. However, Amazon is expected to regain the leading position in the third quarter when the company launches a new product, Digitimes Research noted.
There are 2 stories here. The first is that Digitimes' predictions obviously can't be trusted; they missed the actual number by 33%. The projected number is irrelevant for any real purpose than to judge Digitimes's competence.
The other story here is the market shares. It doesn't match with what I've seen, but it could still be true. And if it is then this would explain why B&N decided to get into a price war. They're making their profit on volume.
Paid Content UK ran a survey asking people about the paywall that the Times of London will soon have. They have posted the results of the survey, and I'm intrigued. They found that 23% of respondents were somewhat likely (13%) to very likely (4%) to pay for access. Paid Content is a lot more optimistic about the results that I am.
My first concern is that there was no option for undecided. Surely at least some of the respondents haven't actually considered this; now we don't know who they are. My guess is they're in the 23%, but we don't know for sure.
My other issue with the data is that it does not cover all of Times Online's audience. Two thirds of Times Online's audience is outside the UK (according to Alexa). I'm not going to speculate on who will and won't pay, because we don't really know. BTW, about 20% of users find the site through a search engine (also according to Alexa). How many of that 20% are going to pay to read the story instead of clicking the back button?
Simon & Schuster reported $12 million in digital publishing revenue for Q1 yesterday, which is roughly a 233 percent increase over the previous quarter's $3.6 million. Included in the $12m are sales of stand-alone apps, e-books, and audio downloads. S&S has six paid iPhone apps.
Let's put this in perspective. Ebooks were about 3% of publishing revenues last year, and S&S is doing three times that much business.