“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”
Here’s one of those predictions that missed it a bit…
BLOOMBERG: The iPhone’s impact will be minimal. It will only appeal to “a few gadget freaks.” Nokia and Motorola haven’t a care in the world.
In an opinion piece in Bloomberg, Matthew Lynn predicted that the iPhone’s impact on the wireless industry would be minimal, arguing that the smartphone would really only appeal to “a few gadget freaks.”
You know, for most of human history, you did not have to worry about whether or not your job was going to disappear. And people “relaxed” because once they learned a job, they could perform that job for a very long time. In many instances, generation to generation. If you dad was a farmer, and your grandfather was a farmer, then you were a farmer, and your son would be a farmer. Sure, other stuff mattered – work ethic especially. And the elements could wipe out the family farm, or war could disrupt everything. But your job – your product, your service – well it would be ok. Even for most of the last century, there was stability. If you knew how to work on your spot on the assembly line, you were pretty much set for life.
Back to these predictions. How about this one, from Business Week (from the same Business Insider article)?:
BUSINESSWEEK: The iPhone will never be a threat to the BlackBerry.
Stephen Wildstrom argued in BusinessWeek that the iPhone would not be a BlackBerry killer as some had predicted because the two devices were intended for two different markets.
“People get BlackBerrys to get mail, specifically corporate e-mail,” he wrote “People are going to buy iPhones to get entertainment, with mail as a bonus. The products live in almost totally disjoint worlds.”
The iPhone vs. the Blackberry: It seemed like such a slam dunk win for BlackBerry when the iPhone first came out. But, as we all know now, that “seemed like a slam dunk” missed the mark pretty dramatically.
So, here is the threat we all face today. Is our product or service one that can last for while? And, whatever we do, let’s not get cocky, complacent… We’ve got to become world-class observers, constantly scouting out the possible competition. Something is coming around the corner, and we’d best be ahead of that new threat, and then the next, and the one after that…
It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.
I wrote about this in a comment on my post, “What Three Books Should I Load On My Kindle For My Cruise?,” but let me add to that comment.
I think that it is inevitable that e-books will drastically impact the sale of physical books. But, for now, I think that maybe there are simply more total books being sold overall because of e-books.
The article that has generated this round of conversation is this one, from the N Y Times, E-Books Top Hardcovers at Amazon by Claire Cain Miller:
Book lovers mourning the demise of hardcover books with their heft and their musty smell need a reality check, said Mike Shatzkin, founder and chief executive of the Idea Logical Company, which advises book publishers on digital change. “This was a day that was going to come, a day that had to come,” he said. He predicts that within a decade, fewer than 25 percent of all books sold will be print versions.
The shift at Amazon is “astonishing when you consider that we’ve been selling hardcover books for 15 years, and Kindle books for 33 months,” the chief executive, Jeffrey P. Bezos, said in a statement.
Still, the hardcover book is far from extinct. Industrywide sales are up 22 percent this year, according to the American Publishers Association.
Amazon is being helped by an explosion in e-book sales across the board. According to the Association of American Publishers, e-book sales have quadrupled this year through May.
The numbers are undeniable. The sale of e-books are rising faster than many could have expected. Notice that key phrase: Still, the hardcover book is far from extinct. Industry wide sales are up 22 percent this year… It appears that e-books are booming, but physical book sales are also quite healthy at the moment.
So what will happen? Remembering Yogi Berra’s warning (see above), here’s my two cents worth: physical books will be around a long while, maybe forever. But ultimately, the overall sales will significantly tilt toward the e-books. I think it is inevitable. And the accelerated pace is evidence that such sales are ramping up very, very quickly.