Internet industry research firm TBI Research estimates that Amazon.com currently has 90% of the entire e-book market. (Last month, I covered TBI’s claim that Amazon is losing money on every title from major publishers sold at $9.99 or less.)
This article makes a number of interesting claims and suppositions. It suggests that the Kindle format could become “the standard e-book format,” turning competitors into “the equivalent of generic MP3 players competing against iTunes,” but estimates that at the moment e-books still make up less than half a percent of Amazon’s total revenues.
Here is one especially interesting passage (emphasis theirs):
We have heard from various sources that Amazon is not opposed to backing away from its DRM policy since it doesn’t want to annoy consumers. However, for now, consumers appear oblivious to the DRM restrictions since they are all buying e-books on Amazon and reading them on Kindles. So for now Amazon shouldn’t feel any pressure to change anything.
TBI also claims to be hearing from publishers that if Amazon is able to hold onto as much as 50-70% of the e-book market despite competition from market rivals, the publishers would be forced to cave on wholesale price points within two years.
Of course, much of this is based on supposition and guess, as Amazon has been notorious about keeping any actual figures close to its chest. And Amazon still does not sell e-books in most international regions (though it probably will not be long before they expand).
But if TBI is even close to the mark, it is somewhat disturbing to consider the prospect of Amazon becoming the “iTunes of e-books”, especially in light of the apparent lack of concern about DRM of Amazon’s customers.