This post, by JA Konrath, originally appeared on his A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing blog on 3/7/11.
Elsewhere on the internets, I’ve heard the current ebook boom being described as a bubble. One that will eventually burst.
A bubble is when people invest more money in something than it is actually worth. Real estate, technology, dot com companies, housing, the stock market, etc. all are investments that might not pay off, and have been called bubbles.
Ebooks aren’t an investment. We’re not dumping money into them, hoping we can sell them at a profit later on.
Rather, ebooks are more like a commodity. But not quite, because they don’t conform to the rules of supply and demand, as there is an endless supply. But I believe there is also an endless demand. I come to this conclusion by looking at other digital media, and seeing the never-ending, constantly regenerating market.
An ebook is forever. Forever is a long time to find readers. I’m selling over 1000 ebooks a day, but it would take me forty-one years to completely saturate the current Kindle-owner market (assuming there are currently 15 million Kindle owners.)
However, people read ebooks on more than just their Kindles. There are Kindle apps, Nooks, Kobos, smart phones, computers, tablets, and so on. I could sell 10,000 ebooks a day, and it would still take the rest of my life to saturate the current market.