The publishing industry is freaking out about the news that ebook sales were higher than hardcover sales for the first time in first five months of 2012. The technology industry is crowing that platforms such as Kindle and Nook are the greatest thing since sliced bread. The old world is ending, all hail the new world!
Yet it seems as if everyone is missing the real story here.
Sure, ebook sales were up 28.1% over the same period a year prior whereas hardcovers rose only 2.7%. With the rise of Android phones, cheap tablets such as Kindle Fire and Amazon making its reader available pretty much anywhere there’s a screen available, it would be a colossal failure if ebooks didn’t surpass the print versions.
The real story, however, is that the sale of downloadable audio products rose 32.7% over the same period in 2011. Though the overall numbers are about 10% of the market for ebooks, the growth is staggering. But you’re not a writing stuff that’s going to end up in Barnes & Noble, so it doesn’t affect you at all. Or so you think.
Consider Edison Research’s findings in The Podcast Consumer 2012, a yearly survey done by the research firm. This year’s findings include the following:
- 29% of survey respondents have listened to a podcast, up from 25% last year (16% increase)
- 17% have listened to a podcast in the past month
- 25% of podcast consumers plug their MP3 players or smartphones into their car audio system “nearly every day”
Podcasts, as you know, aren’t necessarily mainstream productions. Some are professionally produced, but many are not. Amateurs with headsets and Audacity, nothing more.
Think about this for a moment. People are gobbling up audio more than ever before. They know what podcasts are, and listen in the car audio system nearly every day. They’re hungry for information.
Heading over to iTunes, you’ll notice that there are only a few podcasts dealing with legal issues. My old Debt Podcast still ranks fairly well for bankruptcy-related podcasts though it’s been silent for quite some time.
So there’s the missing story. If you want to get in on the ground floor of a major opportunity then you want to start moving into the world of podcasting. It’s not expensive, it’s not particularly difficult, and you may find it a lot easier than writing a blog or setting up the lighting for a video session.
Now that you’ve got the missing story, what are you going to do about it? Oh, and just for the record – my podcasting efforts will be coming back in a fairly major way in a very short time. I’m never one to walk away from a good opportunity.