Many say that ebooks have yet to take off in the consumer market, and analysts say that they are not selling as predicted, but big-name online stores and portals keep adding them to their catalogs. Yahoo! is the latest to add ebooks to its book inventory at Yahoo! Shopping (http://shopping.yahoo.com/books/ebooks).
Yahoo! will feature ebooks published by adult and children's trade book publisher, Penguin Putnam; general interest publisher, Simon & Schuster; Random House, the trade book publishing division of Bertelsmann AG; and HarperCollins, a subsidiary of News Corporation. The site features ebook content from best-selling authors like Patricia Cornwell, Stephen King, and Lisa Scottoline. Consumers can search using the author's name, title, category, or ISBN. Ebooks range from less than $5 to more than $35. Categories cover everything from thrillers, romance, and science fiction to desktop reference books, college textbooks, travel, and business. The new ebook store also features ebook reviews, with a feature to post your own review, ebook excerpts, and sample chapters, and a list of ebook best-sellers. Consumers can choose to download the ebooks compatible with both Adobe Acrobat eBook Reader and Microsoft Reader. Both programs are downloadable from links on the same page.
Leigh Watson-Healy, vice president and lead analyst at Outsell who specializes in the ebook market, says that big publishers are investing in the ebook market for growth and revenue opportunities in the future. She adds, "Yahoo!'s move is significant because it brings publishers another channel to sell ebooks, even though consumers are not yet lining up to buy them." The ebook market, according to Watson-Healy, has not taken off in the consumer market yet, but "it looks very promising within the elearning market, as consumers will use them for quick reference, and students would prefer to carry a handheld instead of heavy textbooks." She adds, "Yahoo! will eventually take a piece of market revenue, without taking a big risk."
By offering ebooks, Yahoo! Shopping will be in apparent competition with Barnes & Noble.com, which is one of the main featured online bookstores on Yahoo! Shopping. Barnes & Noble.com sells ebooks and also launched its own ebook publishing division, Barnes & Noble Digital, a publisher of eBooks for established authors.