Scenario 2 - E-books for Niches

From ScenarioThinking
Jump to navigation Jump to search


E-book industry seems to be stagnant and the general public is not really interested in e-books. Launches of new e-book readers, e-libraries and web shops will not increase the general interest. People still stick to their way of reading a paper-book - because it is more comfortable compared to digital ones.

Wikipedia and Penguin (Novell Wikipedia) start to become known to people but there is not much attraction to them in writing a book together.


Newly developed e-book readers are used only by small group of early adopters, but they are not able to convince the rest of the public to start reading e-books.

E-book reader manufactures and publishers are starting to consider whether to stay in the business or not.

Because of the stagnating market on e-books, DRM is being pushed into the markets to protect sales. On the one side, e-books and e-readers are still expensive compared to paper-books. On the other side, lots of people - especially young people - are against DRM, which prevents them from sharing an e-book to friends or changing a reading device. Curiously, young people are exactly those who could become the most avid and prominent users and readers of e-books.


Book publishers realize that some e-books sell better than the other ones. Some books don’t sell at all. Publishers conduct several market surveys to find out what the readers really want and what they don’t. Publishers find out that there is no sense in trying to publish all books in electronical format, and they start to focus on publishing books for small(er) potential groups. More and more people have and use a cracked version of DRM-tools to be able to read the books without limitations.

Publishers come up with rules of what can be done with their books and how the ownership is protected. The first book law: ‘A consumer may lend a book but the publisher keeps the right to change or update a book and has the right to prevent a consumer from reading the book after a specific period of time’.

More and more individuals are willing to contribute their own knowledge or text through internet combined by some specific website like Wiki and YouTube, but people will not make money through their contribution.

Writers platforms like Wikipedia pop up quickly after each other - new versions come up making it easy for people to collaborate in writing books. Although it becomes more popular, it is still something that stays in the niches. People like to read these collaborated e-books but don’t write them themselves.


Governments are trying to encourage libraries and educational institutions to get more e-books available, but due to the low interest and high costs, libraries finally stop renting e-books. E-books are not used for educational purposes at schools either. The e-book readers are well developed, but they cost around $300-400 which is why they are not affordable for everyone. Due to the cracking problems, DRM is abandoned by publishers and the e-books are sold under a common license.

On the Internet, small groups of active readers have become also active writers. Alone or together with the other literature fans, people can write and publish their own books online, which the other readers can rate or write own versions to continue or change the story. In 2012, the first collaborative book is published.

Amazon promotes these collaborative writing project to create markets, buying various self published books or fraction and selling them in combination of consumers’ own choices. This is a win-win situation in the way that not only contributer can make money through their creation, but also the readers have freedom to choose the book they truly want. Additionally, Amazon receives great profits and success through this business model.


Highly valued books on the collaborative websites can be ordered from the publisher directly or printed out by the readers, on the printing machines offered by publisher in public places such as libraries, schools etc.

The value chain of the publisher will change in the way that publishers will now review and print highly valued books from different online communities.


Only few e-book publishers and e-book readers have survived and they are doing fairly well by concentrating on niches. The rest of the public still prefers traditional printed books, and won’t be willing to start reading e-books in the near future either. Mainly because of the high prices and the low availability of e-books.

In order to be able the find new niches in the market e-publishers are copying the business model of Amazon. It is unreasonable for thousands of people to write fiction, however it is possible for people to contribute to the same academic discipline. Finally, this business model finds a niche in educational and technology books where knowledge created by different people and readers can buy books based on their own need and knowledge structure.

The active e-book readers has own societies and clubs, but printed books still remain a first choice for most of the readers. The number of unique books has become high as a result of collaborative writing (unique: no ISBN, not enough copies to sustain a valid number).

<pagerating from="Poor" to="Good" category="Scenario">Give an overall rating of this Scenario</pagerating>