Orion chief executive: 'don't get distracted by e-books'

<p>Orion chief executive Peter Roche has struck a note of caution over e-books, warning &quot;we must not allow excitement over the digital revolution to distract us from the other 98% of our business which remains printed books&quot;.</p><p>He pointed out that although e-book sales were growing fast, they represented only a tiny part of Orion&rsquo;s business, and may only account for 2% by the end of this year.</p><p>Roche was speaking to hundreds of agents and authors at the annual Orion author&rsquo;s party, held at the Royal Opera House. Reviewing last year he commented: &quot;2009 was the year in which e-books started to play a significant part in out lives, though frankly nowhere near as significant a part as the space devoted to them in the media might lead you to believe.&quot;</p><p>But he revealed that Orion has produced as many frontlist e-books as possible &ndash; with a &quot;98% success rate&quot;, that most agents had accepted a royalty rate subject to review at a later date, and that Orion was keen to develop apps for the Apple store.</p><p>In his overall summary of 2009, Roche estimated the decline in the overall book market at 3%. &quot;Our own sales declined a little, but happily our decision to concentrate our resources on a smaller number of titles resulted in 2009 being our most successful year ever.&quot;</p><p>He welcomed the new management at Waterstone&rsquo;s &ndash; which he said was making &quot;encouraging noises&quot;, and a decent year for independents. &quot;it goes without saying, or should do, that publishers need good bookshops&quot;.<br /></p>