A panel of presidents of four major New York houses pronounced the book industry "healthy," while a Forrester Research analyst predicted there will likely be nearly 60 million tablet computers sold by 2015. These and other prognostications came during Untethered 2010, a debut digital conference organized by Slate's financial blog The Big Money, held at the McGraw-Hill Auditorium in Manhattan on June 17.
Projections from Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps and the publishing presidents panel generated the most buzz. Epps outlined a marketplace that has embraced iPad, calling it a "new kind of PC" that was replacing laptops and desktops in the home and was attractive to advertisers. Epps outlined a digital future that will be app-centric and multiplatform and said, "No one device will win out overall." She projected that 59 million tablet computers will likely be sold into the U.S. market by 2015 and they would outnumber notebooks and dedicated e-readers by 2012.
The publishing panel featured the presidents of McGraw-Hill Education, HarperCollins, S&S, and Perseus, who all seemed in agreement with S&S president Carolyn Reidy, who said that while "digital will change the shape and the form of books, our business model is healthy." And except for McGraw-Hill, which has not made the change, there was similar agreement about the switch to the agency model. "It's exciting," said Perseus's David Steinberger. "We're not locked into an arbitrary low-cost price for e-books and it's showing that people will pay for digital content on mobile devices."
Device Projections by 2010
160 million desktop computers
150 million laptops
120 million smartphones
59 million tablets
25 million dedicated e-readers