Is the Commercial eBook Market Really Slowing Down?

We have all heard that eBooks sales have recently plateaued. At least one writer has suggested, interestingly, that at least part of that slowdown may be attributed to Amazon sales, but NOT because of Amazon.

Gene Douchette's  THE COLLECTIVE INSANITY OF THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY discovers a smoking gun implicating the Big 5. His point is fascinating. 

"Hachette fought for, and won from Amazon, the return to something called the Agency Model, whereby they set their price and Amazon wasn’t allowed to reduce that price.  So that $15.99 book stayed at $15.99 until Hachette decided to change it."

"Soon after that contract was signed, the other Big 5 contracts came due, and they all asked for the same Agency Model arrangement.  Thus, the finest minds in publishing—or one might assume—negotiated themselves out of an arrangement whereby they sold more units at a lower cost without suffering the financial impact that comes with a lower unit cost."

"After securing the right to price their ebooks unreasonably high and having those prices stick, the first thing the collective brain-trust of the Big 5 did was raise their ebook prices even more.  Often, the prices were higher than the price of the print edition, which is just fundamentally insane."

"It should come as very little surprise to you that after jacking up the prices of their ebooks at the start of 2015, the Big 5 sold fewer ebooks."

"Now here’s the fun part, the part that just makes me shake my head and giggle and wonder how I can live in such extraordinary times.  After six months of depressed ebook sales, the Big 5 announced that the ebook market was slowing down."

"Not: 'we priced ourselves out of the market and stopped selling as many books. No no no.  The ebook market!  Is slowing down!

"This was celebrated!"

"I mean it.  One article after another, from the New York Times on down came news pieces declaring that print was making a comeback at long last, and the long national nightmare was over."

"All it took was the biggest publishing companies in the world deliberately murdering their own share of the market.  And it wasn’t even true."

Thanks, Gene, for your interesting view. Readers, please check out the whole of Gene's article and post back your thoughts!