Worthy of note is the burgeoning second-hand or used book market. In 2006 22 per cent of adults bought books from a charity shop or other second-hand outlet (Mintel, 2007). Oxfam has 130 specialist bookshops, alongside its sale of books in its other retail outlets, and is the largest retailer of second-hand books in Europe. The internet has revolutionized the search and sale of second-hand books: Amazon sells second-hand copies through its Marketplace scheme; and AbeBooks lists over 100 m new, used, rare, and out-of-print books from more than 13,500 booksellers.
The iPad has not changed the industry overnight but it does look like the cool object we have been waiting for in terms of ebook readers. The colour screen will move ebooks to the next level, and whilst there are undoubtedly flaws in the first version, Apple is used to fine tuning products once they have reached the early adopter market.
For publishers the iPad offers more choice – a new player with which to do deals alongside Sony, Google and Amazon. There are predictions circulating in the industry about 50 per cent of books being sold as ebooks within the next five years, and the interest from Apple certainly confirms the impetus behind such a trend.
The irony is that Steve Jobs had proclaimed the book as dead …