The latest from the Open eBook Forum is that retail sales are up 37 percent for the Third Quarter compared to a year ago. Yawn. That’s a whopping $2.6 million. Looks as if the whole industry will still finish the year with a fraction of Tom Clancy’s annual revenue. Oh, well. Maybe ’04 or more likely ’05 or ’06 will be when publishers finally free themselves from paying tribute to the DRMers at Microsoft and the like, and when the format wars start winding down and the technology improves still more. Then look for even faster growth.

Meanwhile I see some hope despite the pathetic size of commercial e-bookdom. First, unit sales in one year have finally pushed past a million. Second, while Q3 revenue went up 37 percent compared to last year, unit sales skyrocketed 64 percent to 377,095. That’s terrific news in that it suggests that publishers are growing more sensible about prices. It’s a triumph, not a defeat, when they’re wise enough to wake up to the realities of the market. Now if only they’ll do the same about onerous, proprietary DRM and the Tower of eBabel.

(Found via eBookAd.)


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