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eBook Sales Outpace Hardbacks 247

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the sell-harder-son dept.
dptalia writes "Amazon announced that for every 100 hardback books they sell, 180 eBooks are sold. In addition, they've seen sales for Kindles triple since they lowered the price. But traditionalists shouldn't panic yet — paperbacks are still the king."
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eBook Sales Outpace Hardbacks

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  • by morphotomy (1655417) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @09:59AM (#32964562)
    Paperbacks will never die simply because once they leave the hands of the vendor they also leave the control of the vendor.
    • by hedwards (940851) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @10:01AM (#32964600)
      You say that as if there's an inherent reason why ebooks can't be handled in a similar fashion.
      • by tftp (111690) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @10:07AM (#32964736) Homepage

        You say that as if there's an inherent reason why ebooks can't be handled in a similar fashion.

        ebooks can be copied by the customers at zero cost and without loss of quality, unless DRM puts some limits to that. Copying of a paper book is possible, but it costs more than the physical book, considering equipment, software and time.

        • unless DRM puts some limits to that -

          don't all amazon's books have DRM?
          • by Winckle (870180)

            DRM which is trivial to remove.

        • by Zerth (26112)

          Copying of a paper book is possible, but it costs more than the physical book, considering equipment, software and time.

          Not for much longer. If you have access to a print-on-demand machine, POD paperbacks are currently costing about the same as regular paperbacks retail(ie, no price difference if you are just printing for yourself). When those machines get to a desktop size, you'll probably be able to print them cheaper than you can buy them.

          I wouldn't want to, myself. Not enough storage space, even if I

          • When those machines get to a desktop size, you'll probably be able to print them cheaper than you can buy them.

            No, just as with desktop printers, when the machines get to desktop size, the one-time cost of the machine will be more affordable, but the per copy production time will be longer and the per copy cost in consumables will be higher that what the large machines used by firms that do POD printing with a higher production volume use.

      • by fredjh (1602699)

        They can be but they aren't.

        First, we're talking about new books, not classics that you can get for free from a number of sources, and that can be read by a number of different e-readers on top of free software you can download.

        Now, you can take the illegal (in most places) action of removing DRM, but if you follow the guidelines you have very little freedom with e-books.

        For popular books in paperback, you don't even save much money... the ONLY reason to buy e-books is for the convenience of carrying your l

    • There are plenty of ebooks in the same state, they just don't tend to show up on sales figures... Arr matey, so to speak...
      • by Lifyre (960576)

        There are honestly more to be had via that delivery method than the other too...

    • by alen (225700)

      the last time i checked used book prices on ebay they were so low that it made sense to throw the books in the trash or donate them to a library. no resale value unless it's an expensive textbook or some rare book. i sold a bunch of books years ago just for the feedback. after fees and shipping i broke even to my selling costs. and i lost a lot of time.

      most people will buy ebooks because they can do it right away and not go to a bookstore

    • by cgenman (325138)

      Digital downloads of music will never outpace CD's, because once CD's leave the hands of the vendor they also leave the control of the vendor.
      Wait, that happened.

      • True, but there's a lot of demand for purchasing 1 or 2 tracks of an album online, rather than buying the entire album via CD. I don't think the same could be said of most books ("Chapter 12 was a great read, but 8-11 were just filler.").

        • by fredjh (1602699)

          Just an anecdote... but I've read books that I could easily say that about... every other chapter was filler and actually annoyed the hell out of me.

    • They are talking about hardbacks, not paperbacks. Paperbacks probably still outsell everything.

    • by mu51c10rd (187182)

      The Nook and I think the Sony ereader allow this. Even with the DRM, it allows you to transfer a book to a friend for a specified amount of time.

      • by fredjh (1602699) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @11:16AM (#32965898)

        I have two Nooks... believe me, I did not buy them for the "lend" feature, which is nearly pointless in it's implementation...

        SOME publishers "allow" some books to be lent... ONE TIME ONLY, and ONLY for fourteen days. After that, you can not lend it anymore.

        By buying into e-books (which I've done, I had my reasons why I ultimately thought it was a good way to go), you are removing any right to resale/donate you have with other books.

        Because of this fact, cost of books should not enter the equation for determining whether to buy an e-book reader or not... most of the paperbacks I looked into cost less than a dollar more than the e-book version, and you didn't give up your rights.

    • In most parts of the country you can check out ebooks from your local library. Once your check out period is up you delete the book from your computer and someone else can check it out. Works great for audio books too. If it's a book you want to keep buy a copy.
  • Printed books are only superior in possibly 3 ways, being able to trade them, being able to use them without electricity and being able to mark them up. Which is really only 2 ways, as anybody that enamored with them shouldn't be writing in them. Both of those can be dealt with, solar cells and fixing the DRM model.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dylannika (1523113)

      Printed books are only superior in possibly 3 ways, being able to trade them, being able to use them without electricity and being able to mark them up. Which is really only 2 ways, as anybody that enamored with them shouldn't be writing in them. Both of those can be dealt with, solar cells and fixing the DRM model.

      Why shouldn't they be writing in them? My favourite books are marked up with my thoughts and insights. When I go back and re-read the books I can see how I've changed in my understanding of the book. I totally understand that I can mark up ebooks as well, but I'd be terrified that my notes would disappear from certain devices.

    • by vlm (69642)

      being able to trade them

      No one trades book files, just like no one trades music files. Officially, anyway.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jaymz666 (34050)

      Or water damage, or forgetting it on the bus/plane, or even damaged from something heavy landing on it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Kaziganthi (824129)
      Some of the readers on the market allow you to "mark up" the books as well.
      • by Zerth (26112)

        Odd feature I just noticed recently: if more than 3 people mark a passage in a kindle, it shows up on everybody's copy. It's optional, though.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by AdamsGuitar (1171413)
      Or, of course, the fact that some people like the way a book *feels*. The way a page feels when you turn it. While simulated page turns are nice eye candy, an e reader doesn't provide the tactile feedback of a physical object.
    • It's also statistically shown that more people read paper books faster than ebooks.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ezbo (1596471)
        It has, but the population was all of 24 people, all of which had never picked up an ebook before.....and they read for 20 minutes, hardly a book's worth. Also, they read the same text 4 times, no one knows how the huge selection of 24 people were chosen, and no one knows how old they were as yet. So no, not really.
    • by Rinikusu (28164)

      /* anybody that enamored with them shouldn't be writing in them */

      WHAT? I'd say just the opposite. People that enamored with reading can usually be spotted BY the copious amounts of margin writing, note taking, highlighting, etc. People that are enamored by having "things" (and not the ideas they contain) are usually the ones that can't stand dog-earing and marking up. It might mess up that vintage first edition that might sell for $10 on eBay in 20 years...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Power and DRM aren't the only problems. You also have to deal with the reliability and durability of the device. I don't want to have to buy a new one every 3 to 5 years because of a blown cap, an intermittent button, faded screen or some mandatory "upgrade" to accommodate a format change.

    • by MBGMorden (803437)

      Well, the DRM problem ties into this too, but part of the problem too is how easy it is to lose an entire ebook collection. Sure, everyone should be doing backups (though backups are often difficult to impossible with DRM), but in reality most people don't. One hard drive or memory failure and your entire collection is toast. Or even routine maintenance. My sister had to send her MacBook in for service recently. The hard drive was fine. It was just cutting off sporadically and such. Turns out the mot

      • by Coren22 (1625475)

        Maybe you should read up on this a bit more. Kindle and Nook keep records of what you have bought and allow you to reload the books onto a new unit.

      • by shmlco (594907)

        Fire, water damage, tornadoes, quakes, any naturalmdisaster. And theft, of coruse, All can damage of destroy your library.

        With digital media, however, I can have MANY backups both at home and offsite. Your girlfriends story is more about her failure to do backups (on a Mac with Time Machine no less) than the dangers of ebooks.

        You also forgot to consider another, much more common strike against physical books: moving them.

    • by Abcd1234 (188840)

      Printed books are only superior in possibly 3 ways

      Well, there's a fourth way: I just like them. *shrug*

      I like them for the same reason some people pine for the days of vinyl: they're as much collector items, object d'art, as they are content to be read. I *like* having shelves stuffed with books. I like the way they look, the way they smell, the way they feel.

      'course, I also read a ton of stuff on my PDA (since I'm too cheap to buy a dedicated e-reader). But I'll never go away from buying real, physica

    • Out of business (Score:4, Insightful)

      by IflyRC (956454) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @11:03AM (#32965666)
      So, I have books on my shelf from the 1960s. Sure, they're old and tattered but still readable. What happens if Amazon goes out of business in 30 years and my Kindle is dead? What if I buy a Nook and Barnes and Noble goes out of business in 15 years? I can't really move DRM'd stuff over to another e-reader can I? Or is that something that we'll be able to do one day? I've always liked the durability of books. Sure, they can be destroyed but they are physical "things" - not bits stored somewhere.
  • NO they do not (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the_womble (580291) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @10:01AM (#32964604) Homepage Journal

    E-books outsell hardcover books at Amazon.

    Amazon is the dominant ebook seller and pushes ebooks very hard.

    Unless Amazon have nearly half the hardback market, then hardbacks still outsell Kindle ebooks in total.

    • The vast majority of books that I buy are not hardcover, they are softcover. I'd say that I purchase 20 softbacks for every single hardback.

    • People who buy the Hardback version of a book are mostly the kind of rabid readers who will buy it at the first opportunity in the quickest format to get

      People who are willing to wait buy it in paperback ...

      Since the ebook is available (at least on Amazon) earlier than paperback and is simpler to get ... guess what ...

      In other words earlier adopters adopt early....everyone else carries on as normal

    • by eln (21727)

      Anyone else a little weirded out by the WSJ image of Jeff Bezos trying to show you 1880s porn on his Kindle?

      Yes, if you were able to see the whole picture you could very clearly see that the woman is showing her ankle in a highly provocative manner. Why, I've heard rumors of people using similar devices to show pictures of women posing completely hatless. It's absolutely shameful that this new "electronic book displaying contraption" is being used for such filth.

  • by jaymz666 (34050) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @10:03AM (#32964652)

    I never bought hardbacks to begin with, but several hundred paperbacks adorn my shelves.

    I would much rather lose a single paperback to either forgetfulness, water damage or a friend borrowing and never returning it that losing my ereader that way.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mikael_j (106439)

      I buy hardbacks when they're available but a lot of times I find that a book is only available as paperback. With a few books it even seems that while there are no new hardbacks being printed libraries are still able to get the latest edition as a hardback from somewhere, no wonder hardback sales are down when you can't even buy them most of the time...

      • by linear core (1692640) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @10:58AM (#32965554)

        Actually, the answer to the library question is simple. Most libraries, especially university ones, buy special library versions of the books. They typically come in hardback, printed with special ink on acid-free paper. The upside is that the book will last, supposedly, much longer, possibly a couple centuries. With no acid in the book you also won't get that nasty breakdown you do with older books that turns the pages brittle and the covers all '60s techni-color. The downside is that this edition of the book costs around $100+ for something as simple as Dean Koontz's new thriller.

        Otherwise, libraries typically buy the best quality edition of the book they can and rebind it in hardback. But there is a huge market for publishers making special library editions that aren't available to the public.

    • This means you buy mostly fiction.

      For nonfiction research hardbacks are completely the way to go. A shelf full of Trade Paper becomes a domino cascade every time you take 5 out of the 40 off the shelf.

      I also just happen to like hardback for heavy fiction sets, like Tom Clancy.

    • by dingen (958134)
      Exactly. If this article says anything at all, it's that Amazon sells amazingly little hardcovers.
    • by cgenman (325138)

      What if your eReader was your phone? And Amazon let you re-download all of your books to any device? I would much rather get rid of the concept of losing any books.

  • love it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lord Ender (156273) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @10:05AM (#32964680) Homepage

    I love my Kindle. I buy about one book per week. It's gotten to the point where if a book I'm looking for isn't available in ebook format, I simply don't buy that book. I want my entire library available to me anywhere I go. I don't want to haul around dead trees.

    The publishers who haven't released their books in ebook format are simply daft.

    • How much does the average eBooks cost for you?

      I have a feeling a lot of this whole "outpacing" business is that hardcovers are simply more expensive, and some people are not willing to shell out when a softcover is available.

      Publishers have started to make less softcover books and more hardcover so that when you want the latest book in a series, all that ends up available at bookstores is the hardcovers, all the softcovers sell out too quickly. They make that much more in mark up.

      So - if an eBook (not the r

      • by GigG (887839)
        With an about a 50/50 mix of books that were it not for the Kindle I saved the cost of the Kindle in less than one year. The savings came from shipping costs and reduced costs for the books. Admittedly I was ordering almost all of my pre-Kindle books from Amazon.
      • Well, the Amazon ebook store is a bit like Steam. Prices are a little lower, but delivery is faster and you get free "cloud computing" services (backups, available from anywhere, etc.), but on the downside, DRM stops you from reselling.

        Of course, you can always use PDFs or .txt files or even HTML files on your Kindle, but only stuff you buy through Amazon has the CC service with it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by MozeeToby (1163751)

        Usually when a new best seller first comes out, it will only be available in hardcover, so it's a little worse than simply not supplying enough paperbacks, they don't make them available at all. Think of it as the early adopter fee, if you're willing to wait 6 months you can get the same book in paperback for much less. That annoys me but doesn't really piss me off, yes you have to pay extra for a new release but you get a superior product in the form of a more durable hardcover. What pisses me off is wh

        • by gorzek (647352) <gorzek&gmail,com> on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @11:08AM (#32965762) Homepage Journal

          The real problem with those prices is the publishers. Publishers don't view ebooks as a revenue stream, they see them as a technology that cannibalizes physical book sales. So, they don't price ebooks with the mindset that it is basically 100% margin--instead, they're thinking "how much of the cover price on a hardback or paperback am I losing on this deal?" And that is the basis for the ebook pricing. It makes sense if all you care about is preserving your dying business model.

          Basically, publishers still don't take books seriously, and they price them as such.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cervo (626632)
      I have a nook and my problem is that a lot of the technical books either don't have e-books, or they only have the amazon topaz format. So really I have no choice but to buy the hard copy...... Hopefully this will change. From what I understand Topaz format means the publisher pays amazon a small amount to scan the book into a format which can be re-flowed but isn't very good. And a full fledged mobi pocket/ebook requires more effort from publishers to make that format.

      This is even true of "Coders at
      • Re:love it (Score:4, Insightful)

        by kent_eh (543303) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @10:56AM (#32965520)

        I have a nook and my problem is that a lot of the technical books either don't have e-books, or they only have the amazon topaz format. So really I have no choice but to buy the hard copy...... Hopefully this will change. From what I understand Topaz format means the publisher pays amazon a small amount to scan the book into a format which can be re-flowed but isn't very good. And a full fledged mobi pocket/ebook requires more effort from publishers to make that format. This is even true of "Coders at Work" which while not a technical book, would be fun to read. But I don't want to have it sitting on my shelf if I'm just going to read it once and probably not go back. Your choices are PDF or TOPAZ, none of which work that well on Nook. And even Kindle users complain about Topaz books not reflowing well. Of course if I had an iPad the PDF would probably be fine. So maybe for technical books iPad is the way forward... Still for reading fiction the Nook/Kindle/other eInk readers are pretty nice...

        Here's the big one that keeps me from moving to e-books.
        Format wars.
        As far as I can tell, a couple of the leading readers are ties exclusively to book stores, and each sells a proprietary format.
        If there was one industry standard that all titles were available in, regardless of the supplier, then I'd be in more of a hurry to shell out for a reader.

        And, to the point of the article, I don't think I have bought a hardcover if there was a paperback available (or scheduled to be available). The words are the important part. If I can have 3 paperbacks for the cost of 1 hardcover, why wouldn't I?

        • by mu51c10rd (187182)

          The format war is really Amazon vs everyone else. Seems all the ereaders went with epub which is open, while Kindle when with Amazon's proprietary format.

          • by cervo (626632)
            Not entirely true, many have their own DRM scheme. Adobe DRM is the standard but there are other DRMs on epub (ie Barnes and Noble). Really Barnes and Noble and Amazon seem the biggest players. So even if they were both ePub, if they have their own DRM scheme then it is the same as now. If they both had Adobe DRM then no problem, everyone can read Adobe DRM and so there is lots of choice.
        • Re:love it (Score:5, Informative)

          by cervo (626632) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @11:44AM (#32966460) Journal
          There is a format war, especially Amazon. From what I can tell it appears Barnes and Noble is willing to open up its store to other readers (see Plastic Logic). Amazon seems to want to lock users into the Kindle and their format so people have no alternatives.

          ePub is becoming a standard and it does have a standard Adobe DRM (which the nook can read). But everyone seems to be inventing their own DRM. Nook can read the standard DRM and Barnes and Noble's DRM. I don't know why it felt compelled to invent its own DRM.

          Anyway Amazon's DRM has been cracked, and there are utilities to convert from Mobi Pocket to ePub and the other way. Most of the formats are basically similar to HTML. However Topaz is different, it is a scanned image. The books are lower quality, but basically you just scan it and are done. For ePub/Mobi you actually have to publish your book in that format which is more work for the publisher. For publishers who don't want to bother at all with eBooks, they can just scan it into Topaz and sell a few extra ebooks. For the ones who are serious about eBooks, they often put it in the format and then publish both Mobi (Amazon's format) and ePub(most of the rest) with each store locking it into the various DRM. Sometimes I see the same book on Amazon, Fictionwise, Barnes and Noble.

          But still it would be good if they all agreed on one format. But it seems like with the seamless utilities, if a publisher goes to ePub or Mobi they can convert to the other format and then each store just throws its own DRM. For a consumer it sucks because you are locked in. At least with Nook you can read adobe DRM so you have some choice. But in reality most of the DRM schemes have been cracked so even Kindle users can crack the DRM and convert to Mobi.
          • by cervo (626632)
            Anyway while Barnes and Noble is opening its book store to other readers (probably because it wants to sell books more than anything else). I'm sure they'd love to find ways to lock people into their store only.
      • by Coren22 (1625475)

        How do you mean the PDF doesn't work well with Nook? I have no problem with it on mine. It even works faster then a desktop computer running Adobe.

    • Re:love it (Score:5, Interesting)

      by pvera (250260) <pedro.vera@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @10:25AM (#32965040) Homepage Journal

      We got two Kindles here, it is just too convenient to have the books available anywhere. With two of us in the house reading so much, we already had one wall covered with bookshelves and it was starting to get out of control (those things are dust magnets). Now all of our purchased eBooks are kept in a convenient location, we don't even have to worry about losing a book because the device fails.

      Even if I forget the Kindle when I leave the house, I can use the Blackberry client and pull whatever I was reading. The flexibility I get outweighs any concern I may have had about DRM and lock-in.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jamesoutlaw (87295)

      I bought a Nook from Barnes & Noble a few weeks ago ... the $150 price of the wifi version convinced me to give it a try. I have been pleasantly surprised at how nice the reading experience has been. There were times when I caught myself reaching up to turn the page, as if I was reading an actual hardcopy book. The page transition did take a little getting used to and it is a little slow at times, but those are minor issues for me.

      I will still buy some hard back & paperback books, but for travel

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cduffy (652)

      *agree*.

      I'm a bit wary buying something I'll want to keep for decades encumbered with DRM -- my preferred publisher for technical ebooks is Manning, who makes everything available in unencrypted PDF -- but I'm thinking of moving from a house with lots of bookshelves to a tiny little condo downtown. Only the very, very best of my dead-tree library can come with me, so electronic format for future purchases Just Makes Sense.

      (I bought a Kindle DX due to the large-format screen and PDF support, but the lack of

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Itchyeyes (908311)

      I completely agree. The ability of an ebook to move to whichever device it's most convenient for me to read it on at the moment, be it my PC, iPad, Kindle, or Android phone, is really what makes the experience so worth it for me. When I first got my Kindle and the Amazon ebook selection was only around 200,000 titles, I often made exceptions when they didn't have a book I wanted and would buy the physical copy. However, the selection has increased so much since then that these days it just makes more sen

    • Re:love it (Score:4, Interesting)

      by N7DR (536428) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @10:53AM (#32965462) Homepage

      The publishers who haven't released their books in ebook format are simply daft.

      Or possibly they have read the contract that Amazon requires them to agree to in order to put content on their devices, and decided that giving all the rights to Amazon is not something that they want to do (I exaggerate, but not by a whole lot; basically the publisher gives up essentially all control of the presentation and distribution). Perhaps they are careful rather than daft.

  • US Book sales totaled $715.3 million in May 2010. Adult hardcover sales were up 43.2% from last year to $138.5 million. Softcover sales were down 2.2% to $110.7 million. Now, the important bit: E-book sales were $29.3 million (up 162.8% from May 2009). So, while Amazon may be doing a fantastic job of selling software for the Kindle platform, it's not yet indicative of the broad market. There's still a big battle ahead.
  • by Lifyre (960576) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @10:10AM (#32964784)

    This is not at all surprising especially for travelers or those who have limited space but like to read many books. As military my PRS-505 allowed me to bring and entire library with me for the size of a small notepad to Iraq as opposed to a half dozen books. The reading experience was close enough to reading a paperback that it isn't worth mentioning except for a few purists.

    The picture viewing and manga reading was also sublime. To me the pictures while grayscale looked like they could have been pencil drawn and were easily readable.

    The ONLY downside I found was the screen refresh but it wasn't much more than turning a page and easily adapted to.

    • What format were the manga you were reading? I ask because I also own (and love) a PRS-505 but I've found some issues with image-based books (mostly lame scanned-jpeg pdfs).

      • by Lifyre (960576)

        I would get the .jpg or .png files and view them. It works well as long as they are intelligently named. If you can extract the jpegs from the pdf and view them seperately it should resolve you issue especially since you can zoom in if the screen sized image doesn't have enough resolution for you.

        • Cool, so you read them in the "Image viewer"? I'll have to check that out... Too bad the 505 doesn't support folder navigation but I guess that's where "intelligent naming" comes in. :)

          • by Lifyre (960576)

            Yep just the image viewer works a treat. The lack of folder navigation is my biggest gripe (pretty much my only one) with the 505 and exactly why intelligent naming is so important :-p

  • by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @10:11AM (#32964816)

    Even if Amazon's selling 180 ebooks for every 100 hardcovers, not every one of those ebook sales was a choice between an ebook and a hardcover; many are a choice between an ebook and a paperback.

    Obviously, ebook sales are still growing, but even limiting that number to just Amazon (which is naturally pushing the Kindle), it's still a little misleading.

    • by fredjh (1602699)

      Yes, I was looking for someone to point this out before I posted... I'd give you mod points if I had them. It's a very disingenuous statement when you consider they probably sell many times the number of paperbacks that they do hard covers.

      I also wonder what they consider a "sale." Some e-books are ZERO cost, like a lot of the out-of-copyright classics, but they still get listed on Amazon, just with zero cost... so even it makes sense people "order" a lot of books they might not otherwise have gotten.

  • by localman57 (1340533) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @10:22AM (#32964994)
    I don't know about all this 'eReader' hub-bub, but personally, I miss the way parchment felt between your fingers. Yeah, I know everybody says the printing press brought literacy to the masses, but in my opinion, it's just another way for the Kings and Lords to control what us serfs read.

    There was a time when you traveled from village to village meeting people and looking for new parchment you hadn't read before. Now, they print off 100 of something like it's no big deal, and hey, look, now everybody in the village is all up on the "bible" all of a sudden.
    • Oh, stop with your new-fangled parchment. How is the writing going to survive the aeons if it's not carved into stone?
      • by localman57 (1340533) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @10:50AM (#32965428)
        Carved into stone? Are you mad? When we get driven from our lands by invading barbarians, what are you going to do? Load up the ol' cart with a few hundred tablets? Good luck.

        That's why we use oral history. Sure, it eats up most of a kid's childhood teaching it to him, and he gets unhappy when we beat him for forgetting parts, but it's mobile. Plus, we can make as many copies as we want, just by speaking to other people. The StoneCarver's industry is just using this to make sure you have to pay them for every copy.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          "Oral history"? You "evolved" simians sure think a lot of yourselves. Why do you think anybody two generations from now is going to care what you think? Us chimps, we know how it's done. If something's important, you pee on it, so everybody knows it's yours. End of story.

          Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go groom bugs off of my mate.
          • by gozu (541069)

            Pee? You "sophisticated" multicellular organisms and your silly macrochemical tricks. We microorganisms have solved this problem a long time ago. It's called genes and they back themselves up indefinitely WHILE evolving too. Give me a strand of rna to read anytime over hipster pee.

  • Now all they have to do to ban all books is just silently delete them remotely from your kindle while you sleep. No firemen required.

    And you'll have people in small camps living like vagrants reciting books to each other.

    We've already got the wall-sized TVs blaring idiot-shows at us all day long, so banning books can't be far behind.

    Never mind Orwell, we're closer to Bradbury's reality. Oh Montag, we need you!

  • hard cover, soft cover, and ebooks.

    Each one has its best use. I don't use foreign language dictionaries much any more. But I still read Science magazine and New Scientist on paper, and I still buy biology books. Medical students have stopped carrying the bible-paper Merck Manual around in the pocket of their white coats.

    Online newspapers have pretty much replaced paper -- my apartment building used to have stacks of bundled newspapers on the curb waiting for the garbage collector, but it's been replaced by

  • Amazon announced that for every 100 hardback books they sell, 180 eBooks are sold.

    Since many print books are never even released in hardback, being released first in paperback (this is true both of technical books that are only released as large-format softcovers, and many novels, etc., that are released only as mass-market paperbacks.)

    Wake me up when ebooks sell more than paperbacks, and when the numbers are overall in the market and not just from one particular retailer that sells both and has been heavi

  • I buy a lot more used and bargain books now because I prefer hardbacks, and often I can only get them as such. For example, I bought the entire The Gap Cycle series in hardback; it's available new, in poor-quality paperback. The paper quality of the hardbacks is better-- stiffer, more sturdy, better tactile sense-- which is why I also bought the Harry Potter series NEW imported from England in UK Adult Edition box set for $165, rather than locally or imported for about $70 in paperback.

    Note that the entir

If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong. -- Norm Schryer

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