Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Why organic foods wish they were e-Books

The short answer? because this way they'll get a front page coverage every week on the New York Times. The long answer? here we go.

I opened the New York Times this morning and found an article on the front page about books' covers in the digital age (In E-Book Era, You Can’t Even Judge a Cover by Motoko Rich). Now, this was a great article and the subject is very interesting. What's even more interesting is the fact that the New York Times publish almost every week an article (at least one) on the front page of the newspaper or the front page of the business section on e-books.

So it got me thinking , why they write so much on e-books? why not organic foods for example? I mean, I've got nothing against e-books. On the contrary, I see a great potential in them to make the book industry more sustainable. Still, I can show you that if you compare e-books to organic foods, organic foods easily win, just not when it comes to front page coverage on the New York Times.

Now, just to be clear. It's not just the New York Times. If you check searches on Google in the last month, you find that 'e-Books' has received 60,100,000 searches last month (or 127,000,000 if you write it in one word - ebooks). On the other hand, 'organic food' has received 1,020,000 searches, or 442,000 if you write it as 'organic foods'. It's totally clear that everyone is more excited about e-books. So why do I think organic foods should get at least similar attention? check out this comparison I made:



Organic Foods


Book readers

Everyone (we all have to eat, right?)

Market share

Less than 2% (2009 figures)

3.5% (2008 figures)


$240 Million (J.P. Morgan estimate)

$24.6 Billion (2008 figures)

Potential penetration

5.8% of the market / $1.25 Billion (2013 est.)

5-10% of the market (Organic Trade Association, 2006b)


Steve Jobs

Chef Jamie Oliver, Michele Obama, Michael Pollan

Interesting stories

The Launch of iPad

New reality show – the Naked Chef wants to save America from its own fatness


Amazon vs. Apple

Big Ag vs. Michelle Obama’s garden

On the radar of VC funds

Not really

Yes (as seen at Agriculture 2.0)

Cool Stuff


Vertical Farms Project, Greenhorns

Change factor

Change the way we read

Change the way we eat

So, what's missing? how come e-Books still win? I guess the only factor that organic foods are missing is the hype factor. Somehow e-Books are more exciting than organic milk or free-range eggs? or maybe it's just the media pumping up our excitement because they think we think it's cool, so eventually we really think it's cool.. Anyway, no matter what this magic ingredient is, I'm sure the organic foods producers and retailers would love to have it!

What do you think? Why e-Books get so much attention? Feel free to add your comment.

You can read more interesting articles on e-Books vs. physical books and the future of publishing on our website.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting Sustainable Reading!