Dan was excited. He convinced his whole family to give him Amazon gift cards for Christmas. He was going to use those cards to buy books for his new Kindle. But he wasn’t going to buy any new titles.
Dan is like a lot of business book readers. He’s recreating a large chunk of his business library on his new e-reader, a Kindle in Dan’s case. It’s déjà vu all over again.
When CDs were introduced in the early 1980s, people began buying CDs to replace the vinyl records they already owned. CD sales shot up, but many of the sales were replacements for vinyl records purchased years before.
That’s what’s happening today with Kindle and Nook editions of business books. I haven’t done a scientific survey, but business friends I’ve chatted with seem to be doing what I did.
When I got my Kindle, my first purchase was a copy of my favorite business book of all time, Peter Drucker’s Effective Executive. I went on a buying spree. Not every title I loved came out in electronic form right away, but when they do (as with Jim Collins’ Good to Great) I snap them up.
That means that the e-book sales numbers will probably be inflated by replacement purchases for at least a couple of years. That’s not really important, because the trend to e-books for business and technical books is solid, upward, and underway.
If you write a book, though, this should be another reason to make sure you create an e-book version in at least Kindle or Nook format. Business book buyers like the portability and searchability and that won’t change.