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E-Books Are Only 6% of Printed Book Sales 437

Posted by timothy
from the can't-fool-me-project-gutenberg dept.
An anonymous reader writes "MIT's technology blog argues that e-book sales represent 'only six pecent of the total market for new books.' It cites a business analysis which calculates that by mid-July, Amazon had sold 15.6 million hardcover books versus 22 million e-books, but with sales of about 48 million more paperback books. Amazon recently announced they sell 180 e-books for every 100 hardcover books, but when paperbacks are counted, e-books represent just 29.3% of all Amazon's book sales. And while Amazon holds about 19% of the book market, they currently represent 90% of all e-book sales — suggesting that e-books represent a tiny fraction of all print books sold. 'Many tech pundit wants books to die,' argues MIT's Christopher Mims, citing the head of Microsoft's ClearType team, who says 'I'd be glad to ditch thousands of paper- and hard-backed books from my bookshelves. I'd rather have them all on an iPad.' But while Nicholas Negroponte predicts the death of the book within five years, Mims argues that 'it's just as likely that as the ranks of the early adopters get saturated, adoption of e-books will slow.'"
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E-Books Are Only 6% of Printed Book Sales

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  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Antisyzygy (1495469) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @06:57PM (#33681740)
    I thought E-books were by definition not Printed Books.
    • by Mr. DOS (1276020)

      My thoughts exactly. Not sure why this has been modded as offtopic.

      • by daenris (892027)
        Not sure either... that was exactly my first thought upon reading the title as well. Luckily it's just a really bad summary title, the article itself doesn't make the same mistake.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BluBrick (1924)
      If I were feeling particularly uncharitable, I might suggest that if you have problems parsing that title, you have little credibility posting on matters literary.
  • eBook pricing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jmlowes (539000) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @06:58PM (#33681748)
    Ebooks will not be able to beat out paper books until prices come down. People are cheap and don't want to spend more for an eBook than the mass market paperback version. Drop eBook prices and watch them take off.
    • Re:eBook pricing (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bieeanda (961632) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:24PM (#33682024)
      Lower prices, and a decent reader for less than a hundred bucks. It's a lot easier to rationalize buying books at ten bucks a shot, than it is to get them in a cheaper electronic format and plunk down for a perceptibly expensive socket to read them with.
      • Fry's had two Sony readers on sale this past week, one of which was $99 (Not sure of the model #). I picked up the PRS-600 touchscreen model for $129. It's box had three price tags on it. $299, $199, $169. The prices on it dropped 4 times before my particular one was sold. Kindles are down to $139 now.

        Reader prices are plummeting, I would imagine that by Christmas there will be several nice models available for less than $100.

        On a side note, I typically despise Sony for their proprietary formats, but
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Omestes (471991)

          Actually the only reader I know of that isn't (mostly) open is the Kindle. Both the Nook and the Sony Readers take the open .epub formats natively, and can pretty much read everything else out there outside of things purchased from Amazon (there are ways though), and the few formats they can't read, Calibre can fix for you. Books purchased from Barnes and Noble are as locked down as Amazon's books, but you can "side load" (a phrase I hate) from pretty much any store offering ebooks. Most of my purchases

          • Re:eBook pricing (Score:4, Informative)

            by BlackCreek (1004083) on Friday September 24, 2010 @06:06AM (#33685092)

            Actually the only reader I know of that isn't (mostly) open is the Kindle. Both the Nook and the Sony Readers take the open .epub formats natively

            This is non-sense. When people complain that the kindle doesn't handle EPUB, they mean DRM'ed EPUB. The real problem with the lack of DRM epub on the Kindle are public libraries lending DRM'ed epub, and other shops only selling in DRM'ed epub.

            The kindle takes .mobi files, and DRM'ed mobi (.azw I think). The Sony and other readers take several formats but are mostly optimized for unencrypted epub, and DRM'ed epub. The whole deal is about which DRM scheme works on each, and which shop sells on that DRM format.

            Back and forth conversion between non-DRM mobi and epub is trivial. All shops I know of selling books without DRM also sell the books in .mobi for the Kindle, and if they didn't epub to mobi is, as I've said, trivial.

    • Re:eBook pricing (Score:5, Interesting)

      by BLKMGK (34057) <morejunk4me&hotmail,com> on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:41PM (#33682178) Homepage Journal

      They WERE lower and then Apple cut a deal with the publishers to allow the PUBLISHERS, not the retailers, to set pricing. They then beat Amazon over the head with this deal and forced Amazon to capitulate. Overnight book prices for E-books in many cases were changed to be HIGHER than hardcover sale prices. The publishers tell you this is a deal though because it's still lower than hardcover LIST prices - who buys at list?! Retailers still set those prices! Want to know when you're getting boned by a publisher? Look for "This price was set by the publisher" on the sales entry.

      When this occurred I went from buying multiple books a month to torrenting them - I haven't bought anything other than a Sci-Fi subscription to a magazine in MONTHS as a result of this bullshit. When they bring back $9.99 pricing I'll start buying, until then - fuck 'em. I can't resell, trade, or give away an e-book like I can paper. I no longer want paper books in my home either - I have too many as it is! grrrr!

    • "People are cheap and don't want to spend more for an eBook than the mass market paperback version"
      Sounds like you've got shares in an eBook company, my friend!

      Perhaps, people are *sensible* and weigh up the cost-benefit analysis and take the best option. "Hey buddy, I've got 2 identical products here, one costs $5 and one costs $15. Which one do you want?". Err.....

      Probably people are looking at similar priced products and weighing up which one works best for them. There's a huge number of people once you

  • I agree, but (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OrangeTide (124937) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @06:58PM (#33681754) Homepage Journal

    It is difficult to argue with the meteoric rise in ebook popularity. I'm an ebook insider, and I still buy mostly physical books. But customers really are demanding ebook version of many books. And pretending that the trend towards ebooks doesn't exist is unrealistic. I might start and stop in fits but I think the writing is on the wall (or display).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by EggyToast (858951)
      This is a crazy idea, but maybe people like both? I prefer books on my Kindle but I'm not going to avoid a book I want to read because it's not available -- I'm going to get it from the library. Maybe that's not the solution that reluctant publishers want to hear, though...

      Still, I agree that I'm not sure what the point of this original post is. A new technology doesn't sell as well as an equivalent, older technology? I'd argue that books are a bit different from movies or music in that books actually
    • by Z00L00K (682162)

      There will probably be a market for both types, especially since there is a difference between paper books and ebooks. Some people read in bed and if you drop the book the worst that can happen is that you need some tape but if you drop your reader you may need a new one.

      And a paper book doesn't need any batteries, which means that you can use it everywhere.

      But for some reading the ebook may be an alternative. And there will be an overlap where the media doesn't matter.

    • by Alaren (682568)

      It is difficult to argue with the meteoric rise in ebook popularity.

      My wife is a bestselling young adult author. The highest number she's heard on digital sales from her peers is 6% (IIRC), and "less than 1%" is the more common answer. So "meteoric" I think may be overstating your case. At a conference she attended last summer, one agent said that while eBooks are obviously here to stay, and how much of the market they will ultimately occupy remains to be seen, to this point in fiction there is only one

  • As a Kindle Owner (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tragek (772040) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:02PM (#33681792) Journal

    E-Books still aren't there yet. When an E-Book as as convenient, as cheap, and as trouble free as real books, then we'll see e-books take off. But I think they've still got a way to go. Prices need to come down, the devices themselves need to get better (more durable, longer battery life, cheaper) and the software inside them needs to get much better.

    Speaking only from owning a Kindle, the limitations on display imposed by are sometimes infuriating: Limited type choices, no ragged right, an orgamizational system which doesn't scale past 100mb of material, let alone the two gigs that comes onboard, (Why people moan that the kindle is not expandable I'll never understand. Aside from a wikipedia dump, who needs two gigs of text on the go!). PDF Support needs vast improvements (why, god why do you let me zoom, but only to the scales you chose for me... which are always way too wide or ten letters too narrow on academic papers?)

    Annotations for academic work are important, and on the impotent keyboard they give you on the kindle, good luck. HIghlighting is slightly better, but still painful.

    Having ranted though, I have to say, I still love my kindle, if for no other reason than receiving my news paper every morning electronically, combined with Instapaper for long articles.

    The devices have amazing possibility, but until they improve, they won't kill the book.

    • by Tragek (772040) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:04PM (#33681818) Journal

      And I have to add, nor do I want them to kill the book. I love my books, I love owning them, I love reading paper books. But e-books have a super leg up when it comes to portability. I can carry the three books and the newspaper I'm reading in 8 ounces, or I can carry a pound and a half of paper.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        But e-books have a super leg up when it comes to portability. I can carry the three books and the newspaper I'm reading in 8 ounces, or I can carry a pound and a half of paper.

        And can you lend out one book without having to hand over the Kindle and subsequently your entire library?

        • by Enry (630)

          Much like DRM was removed from iTMS, I'm hopeful the same will happen with Kindle, or at least some sort of reasonable borrowing mechanism.

          Other than that, you and GP are talking different purposes. Your issue is book lending. GP (and my) issue is portability.

        • by BLKMGK (34057)

          Well, you can also strip the DRM off of the Kindle book and share to as many friends as you want but frankly it's a hassle...

  • Wrong title (Score:5, Insightful)

    by guyminuslife (1349809) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:03PM (#33681808)
    The title should be, "Holy crap, an entire 6% of books sold are eBooks."

    The vast majority of the reading public doesn't own an ebook reader. The vast majority of people say things like, "I like the feel of a paper book, I wouldn't want to read a novel on my computer." The fact that, despite the relative novelty of the medium, and endemic resistance to ebooks, they've already captured a sizeable percentage of the venerable book market says quite a bit about the future. And frankly I'm surprised.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by geekoid (135745)

      And there is high demand for more.

      It's just plain wrong that in 2010, there isn't an eBook version of every text book. I would buy a kindle for my 11 year old son if I could gt all his texts on it. Kids these days carry around 20+ pound of school crap all day long. When I was in high school, I never even owned a back pack.

    • Seconded. It's pretty impressive considering how much of a place paper books have had in most people's lives, and throughout history, I certainly didn't expect eBook penetration to be so high anytime soon!

      I bought an eBook as a test on Android recently, then was pretty annoyed to find out there's no official Linux Kindle client, and the Windows version doesn't even work in WINE.. come on Amazon, you can do better than that. I don't want to read the whole of the book on a 5" screen..!

    • by microbee (682094)

      Yeah, WTF, 6% already?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by fishbowl (7759)

      >The title should be, "Holy crap, an entire 6% of books sold are eBooks."

      Yep. I was going to post something to that effect, but you said it all.

      Or you could even say "'Sblood! 6% of book sales are lost to eBooks!"

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by garcia (6573)

      I'm going for my masters. The program I'm enrolled in is a new one for the University I attend and as an incentive to enroll they are offering free e-books to those who are in it. As a tech geek I thought this was going to be awesome. "Look tech!"

      Well, I fucking hate the e-books aside from their price. I really thought I'd love to search functionality but I don't. It's no better than me printing the chapters out and scanning the pages manually. While this has a lot to do w/the software used for the e-book,

  • by AnonymousClown (1788472) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:06PM (#33681834)

    Millions of people are already reading on Kindles and Kindle is the #1 bestselling item on Amazon.com for two years running. It's also the most-wished-for, most-gifted, and has the most 5-star reviews of any product on Amazon.com.

    Let me start with this; I knew someone who was close to an author (she will go unnamed) and whenever the author published a book, I was always encouraged to go up to Amazon and write a review.

    I'm trying to find the original article, but a year ago Dow Jones reported that online reviews are inflated - people are way too nice.

    In my experience with my own purchases, five star reviews are horribly misleading and inflated. And many times, I think they're written by shills. I now go to the 1 star reviews first (ignore the user errors and the folks who didn't like the shipping) and go up the ratings and ignore the fives. Apparently, some shills are writing 4 star reviews. Fortunately, the shills are kind of easy to spot - I'll leave that up to you figure it out - I don't want to make my buying harder than it is.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hahn (101816)

      Millions of people are already reading on Kindles and Kindle is the #1 bestselling item on Amazon.com for two years running. It's also the most-wished-for, most-gifted, and has the most 5-star reviews of any product on Amazon.com.

      Let me start with this; I knew someone who was close to an author (she will go unnamed) and whenever the author published a book, I was always encouraged to go up to Amazon and write a review.

      I'm trying to find the original article, but a year ago Dow Jones reported that online reviews are inflated - people are way too nice.

      In my experience with my own purchases, five star reviews are horribly misleading and inflated. And many times, I think they're written by shills. I now go to the 1 star reviews first (ignore the user errors and the folks who didn't like the shipping) and go up the ratings and ignore the fives. Apparently, some shills are writing 4 star reviews. Fortunately, the shills are kind of easy to spot - I'll leave that up to you figure it out - I don't want to make my buying harder than it is.

      True if there are only a few reviews. However, when the reviews number in the hundreds or thousands and the ratio of 5 stars to 1 stars is like 20:1, I tend to believe the 5 stars. I do still read the 1 star reviews to see if the complaints are valid or if they're simply by someone who had some issue with Amazon support and decided to ding the product for it. But your point is valid. I do find that the 4 star reviews tend to be the most objective and helpful.

  • E-Books Are Only 6% of Printed Book Sales

    If you print an e-book doesn't it become a ..., oh forget it.

  • Is it just me? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Entropy98 (1340659)

    Am I the only one who prefers reading real books?

    I stare at a computer screen enough.
    a
    Ebooks are great for quick fact checking, but if Im reading 100+ pages I'd prefer a paper book. Its just easier on the eyes.
     
    --
      Windows Media Codec Pack [softpedia.com]

    • Re:Is it just me? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by nomadic (141991) <.nomadicworld. .at. .gmail.com.> on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:28PM (#33682064) Homepage
      I agree with you -- which is why I have a kindle and do most of my pleasure reading on that. Could never read on a smartphone or laptop like so many slashdotters urge people to do here, I look at enough glowing squares at work, don't need to do it at home.
    • by lennier1 (264730)

      True, for me it depends on the type of publication as well.

      I definitely prefer printed versions for novels, other casual reading and art books. But for stuff like tech literature it's definitely great to have a digital version so you can copy the code examples straight from the source. And have you ever tried to Ctrl+F in a paperback?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by BLKMGK (34057)

      Strongly suggest you check out a Kindle - no not an iPad. the Kindle screen is as close to paper as you're going to get in a portable form right now. It's NOT backlit but can be read anywhere the light is good enough to read paper. It doesn't strain the eyes either - it's NOTHING like a computer screen. Give it a chance, you just might find that you liek it. I know being able to carry a few hundred books in my pocket sure is nice. Just be sure to review ebook prices first - right now they suck!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by h4rr4r (612664)

        Huh? Last time I looked at one it had about the contrast ratio of an old phonebook. Have they fixed this?

        Can you now flip at the end of the page or still have to do it when your halfway down since it take forever to flip?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by catbutt (469582)
      Although I'm not big on reading novels, I much prefer reading on a computer monitor than on paper. The main reason is ability to rest my eyes by making the text really big and looking at it from far away.

      I strain to read text in most books, and I find it harder to get the lighting right.
  • We have to remember that it is possible that, in the current market, due to markup costs, eBooks may be selling for less than they cost per unit.

    The only metrics that matter to the consumer are price and utility.

    The only metrics that matter to the writer are profit and control.

    The only metrics that matter to the middleman (book publisher, distributor) are profit per unit.

    We can't compare apples to oranges. We can't use Gross Sales Price, since many books sell for less, due to markdowns and returns in the di

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by BLKMGK (34057)

      Bullshit. You can sell ebooks for less than $3 and make a profit. The overhead is WAY lower. Authors are starting to realize this and publish on their own and it scares the crap out of the publishing industry which is so stupid they actually use the cost of PRINTING paper books as an excuse to inflate ebook pricing!

      Read this: http://blog.macmillanspeaks.com/ [macmillanspeaks.com] completely to see how far up their ass the publishers have placed their heads
      and this: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] to see what smart authors are sta

  • "The $40.8 million in e-book sales generated in July came within $20 million of the July sales generated by the nine mass market paperback publishers that reported results to the Association of American Publishers. The e-book gains also came in a month where all print trade segments reported a decline in sales."

    http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/financial-reporting/article/44546-e-book-sales-jump-150-in-july.html [publishersweekly.com]
  • DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:19PM (#33681968) Homepage

    I'd love to buy some e-books, but I don't want any of the DRM restrictions they come with. I can't sell an e-book online once I've read it, I can't give it away to a friend, I can't check out an e-book from the public library unless the publisher allows it, and often I can only copy my e-books onto a limited number of my own devices. While I expect e-books will someday become the standard for book publishers, I don't want to be part of that future unless and until these DRM issues are resolved. Publishers have little motivation to do so, which means I'll likely remain a technological dinosaur with respect to books and will never own a Kindle or whatever device has replaced it in the future.

    • Re:DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Un pobre guey (593801) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:34PM (#33682114) Homepage
      The problem is that you're not enough of a sucker. The fashionistas ("early-adopters") will latch onto the latest gadget no matter what it is, how much it costs, or how many of their existing rights need to be sacrificed. iTunes is popular even though you have limited copying abilities, you have to make your own backups (carefully), you can't lend the tracks legally or easily, they are generally more expensive per track than a traditional CD, you end up not getting minor works by the artist because you only bought the hit single, etc. etc. With eBooks your books can be altered behind your back and even deleted without your knowledge or authorization. Some people are more than willing to give it all up just to have the latest cool toy.

      Imagine, 50 years from now, a kid goes up to the attic and sees a Kindle with a cracked screen, broken navigation keys, and a dead battery. It is junk. Imagine the same kid in the attic uncovering boxes full of books, dozens of them, with pictures, diagrams, stories, plans, photos, etc. Which is the better outcome?
      • by Reziac (43301) *

        "Imagine, 50 years from now, a kid goes up to the attic and sees a Kindle with a cracked screen, broken navigation keys, and a dead battery. It is junk. Imagine the same kid in the attic uncovering boxes full of books, dozens of them, with pictures, diagrams, stories, plans, photos, etc. Which is the better outcome?"

        Best example of the fundamental differences I've ever seen.

      • by sgage (109086)

        "Imagine, 50 years from now, a kid goes up to the attic and sees a Kindle with a cracked screen, broken navigation keys, and a dead battery. It is junk. Imagine the same kid in the attic uncovering boxes full of books, dozens of them, with pictures, diagrams, stories, plans, photos, etc. Which is the better outcome?"

        Beautiful! I was that kid in the attic, back in the 60's. What a world was revealed...

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by catbutt (469582)
          Nostalgia aside, the kid is more likely to find the e-book because it won't BE stuck up in the attic because it's size didn't justify shelf space in the house anymore.

          Instead, he'll find the e-book on whatever the current technology is, and can read it there. And he'll find it a lot more readily. I know that finding something that was effectively "lost" (i.e. inaccessible) is a great feeling, but I think its even better to always have it accessible.

          In a similar vein, I am quite happy that I no longer
          • Re:DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Un pobre guey (593801) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @09:11PM (#33682858) Homepage
            I think you are overly optimistic. Remember, the vignette is set 50 years in the future. The books belong(ed) to the kid's grandparents or even a more distant relative or friend. The electronic versions are most likely not loaded onto any device being used in the kid's house because the owner is long gone. The eBooks would be forgotten in some long-inactive Amazon account. If Amazon has a policy to delete the accounts of dead people after X years, then the kid won't even have that. Try 100 years later if you like. No doubt there will be many circumstances where the vignette does not fit, but digital data gets locked away deeper and harder the more time passes and the more technology changes. Have you accessed any 20 year old floppy disks lately? Do you still have access to a 5 1/4" drive? An 8" drive? Can you access cassettes from an old Apple II or an old Sinclair 2068?
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by dissy (172727)

              Have you accessed any 20 year old floppy disks lately? Do you still have access to a 5 1/4" drive? An 8" drive? Can you access cassettes from an old Apple II or an old Sinclair 2068?

              Not so ironic for seeing on slashdot, but yes actually I do and have.

              I however am under no illusions that I am one of maybe 20 people whom still do that sort of thing.

              Interesting tidbit: Even in the days of the Apple//, there were plenty of programs with copy protection (Minor form of DRM?) that needs cracked to use the softwar

    • by BLKMGK (34057)

      I hear you. Check out the torrent sites and look for the Python script that strips Kindle books of their DRM. Right now I'd agree things are a mess and the book publishers are making the RIAA guys look like Einstein!

    • Re:DRM (Score:4, Informative)

      by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:59PM (#33682360) Journal
      I'd love to buy some ebooks, but I can't, period. That's right: many publishers will not sell me their ebooks because I do not live in the USA. Barnes & Noble for example are happy to ship dead trees to me overseas, but downloading is a no-no. And the selection in local stores is rather poor. Smells like DVD region hell, only much worse.
  • it is the BIGGEST 6%. All those other sales figures mean nothing in the face of a new technology wave.

    And the thing is, this is both ironically sarcastic, and sardonically true.

    • And the thing is, this is both ironically sarcastic, and sardonically true.

      ...and more or less ridiculous.
  • RPG Books (Score:4, Informative)

    by deinol (210478) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:21PM (#33681996) Homepage

    I am liking the trend (started primarily by Paizo) of role-playing companies that give Print + PDF bundles for their books. I love having access to reference PDFs on my laptop. When regular ebooks start coming bundled with hardcovers or at a more reasonable price, they will definitely take off. As it is, who wants to pay more than a softcover price for a novel?

  • by syousef (465911) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:22PM (#33682004) Journal

    Lots of factors here. I know I won't buy a book while it's tied to a machine or even several machines let alone the installation of the operating system on a machine. I know I'm not the only one. I suspect that's a huge factor. It isn't reasonable that if I lose or damage my reader, my entire library is wiped out. Is it any wonder that if people are asleep reading in bed or reading in the bath or on the toilet that they don't want to risk an expensive device AND their entire library whereas risking a single paperback or hardback book is acceptable? Imagine rolling over in bed and killing not only your poor reader but $5000 in books. Stuff that for a joke.

    • by cduffy (652) <charles+slashdot@dyfis.net> on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:32PM (#33682108)

      It isn't reasonable that if I lose or damage my reader, my entire library is wiped out.

      I can't speak for all vendors, but Amazon doesn't do it that way -- the library remains on their server, available for redownload. Same for the audiobooks I listen to on my commute.

      Granted, that's at their mercy -- if they took that option away today all I'd have would be local backups of files tied to my physical device -- but it's not as bad as you make out. (Also, I don't buy most of my eBooks from Amazon; I buy my technical books mostly from Manning Publications, as unencrypted PDF).

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by syousef (465911)

        Granted, that's at their mercy -- if they took that option away today all I'd have would be local backups of files tied to my physical device -- but it's not as bad as you make out.

        That is EXACTLY as bad as I make out. Vendors go out of business, and remove services all the time. I have books on my bookshelves at home that I've owned for 25 years. What are the odds your books will be on available on Amazon in 25 years? You're just renting them, and the rental period isn't even specified.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by cduffy (652)

          That is EXACTLY as bad as I make out.

          No, it is not. You painted a world in which a single mishap with a single device meant immediate loss of use; that's not presently the case, though it certainly will be far enough in the future (or would be, if I couldn't crack the DRM).

          What are the odds your books will be on available on Amazon in 25 years?

          The only books I've bought in Amazon's Kindle store are things I probably won't care about next month, much less 25 years from now -- think "sitting in an airport, ou

  • It's going to be a multi-step program before I migrate fully to eBooks:

    1. When I can [sit on, drop, bend, fill in the blank] a [Kindle, Nook, et alia] AND not break it into uselessness.
    2. When I can physically write notes onto the page (not create some bookmark link that takes me to my notes).
    3. When prices become sane. Paper book prices are already completely ludicrous as it is. Why pay even more premium for electrons?

    I'll take two out of three. However, I can't see the paper book becoming any more obsolete by the

  • by bdam (1774922) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:28PM (#33682070)
    I work for a medium sized book publisher and like many others we are scrambling to put e-books out. Six percent sounds about right, last year it was 4 and the year before that it was zero. From a publisher's perspective, we're still waiting to see how it all pans out. The suspicion is that this growth rate won't maintain itself and that there's a plateau somewhere. Where that is, no one knows, but no one that I know of in the industry is predicting any sort of e-book takeover in the next decade or two. So yes there's huge growth but no one's getting rid of their printers just yet. Publishers love e-books: no shipping, no warehousing, and most importantly no returns. Most books are sold to retail outlets on the basis that they can return them for a full refund if they don't sell. Since getting shelf space can boost sales you often see titles with an over 50% return rate. Also, for very little money you can take titles that are out of print or didn't sell well and put them out there. Titles once thought dead can now eek out a few extra sales.
  • Books won't die. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by equex (747231)
    I don't spend my whole life near a store that sells batteries or power outlets. I travel by bus, train, plane. That's where I want books, because there it's useless to depend on any technology more advanced than. "Flip to the bookmark, read." Real books are just an amazing technology!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ErikZ (55491) *

      My Kindle 2 will last 2 weeks with the wireless off.

      The new Kindles will last a month. If you're seriously going to go A MONTH without seeing an electrical outlet of any type, well...

      Get a solar charger.

      However, if you're planning a mission in space where you don't see any kind of electrical outlet, and the sun is too dim for solar...

      Tell whoever made your spaceship that you need an electrical plug. The mass savings are worth it.

  • Paula: What's that?
    Blank Reg: It's a book!
    Paula: Well, what's that?
    Blank Reg: It's a non-volatile storage medium. It's very rare. You should 'ave one.
    Paula: Stuff it!

  • by unjedai (966274) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:42PM (#33682196)
    With a paper book, no one is going to take it from you [slashdot.org] unless you get mugged, and then, what kind of mugger takes your books? Maybe I'll start spending money on ebooks when I'm guaranteed they're really mine. But that will never happen.
    • by Barny (103770) <bakadamage-slashdot@yahoo.com> on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:54PM (#33682318) Homepage Journal

      what kind of mugger takes your books?

      Disgruntled literature students with no job prospects after 6 years of university (complete with masters, et al).

      And converting all their books to ebooks, when they can't even afford a phone is going to make the problem even worse! Roving gangs of philosophy majors, terrorising honest people, breaking into homes, stealing and and all books they can get their hands on for the next "fix".

      Amazon, you are an enabler, this is a terrible business model to work on.

  • by Phurge (1112105) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:45PM (#33682218)
    3 years ago, ebooks were less than 1%. Now they're 6%. That's a phenomenal growth rate of 500%. The ebook market is exploding!! Buy some Amazon shares now while they're cheap!!
  • Contrary to some other opinions around here - I have to say I love the convenience of reading ebooks on my phone. I catch the train to work and the volume of my reading has increased massively. Previously books were too bulky to slip into my suit pocket and I used to read a book once a month or so, now I'm finishing books once every couple of days.
  • by DCFusor (1763438) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @08:04PM (#33682418) Homepage
    A while back, I wrote a book, Digital Audio Processing (Doug Coulter). Recently, Amazon has it as ebook form, perhaps without even informing my publisher, and certainly without telling me. It would stink without the code I copy-lefted on the CD that came with the paperback anyway. Though they sanitized the book of any way to contact me, my email address is all over that code which they didn't check. I've gotten emails from unique addresses in the ratio of about 20::1 over the sales my publisher claims. They are cheating, no question. Next time I will self publish and sell off my own forum or something, no point feeding those dishonest jerks any more. I now understand why Frank Zappa had such a hard-on about that whole business. They have reported zero e-book sales, but it's up there cheap. Pretty worthless without the nice code though, and I don't see how you get that off an e-book reader and into compilation, so it's a joke all around. At any rate, they make the RIAA look honest....just my $.02 worth, which is more than they've paid me after the advance. My opinion of those guys is unprintable, so I'll quit now.
  • Seriously? "Only"?!? "Only 6%"?

    We are talking about an industry that only really had a chance to take off in a practical way for about four years (since Sony introduced it's first e-ink reader). This four year old industry has already taken a 7% chunk out of an industry that is roughly 500 years old (depending on how you define it).

    Is it as rapid as digital-only (i.e. no physical media) music overtook CD sales? No. But on it's own, this number is astonishing.

  • From TFA:

    And as for the death-by-2015 predictions of Negroponte, it's just as likely that as the ranks of the early adopters get saturated, adoption of ebooks will slow. The reason is simple: unlike the move from CDs to MP3s, there is no easy way to convert our existing stock of books to e-readers.

    Yeah. Because that's how all those MP3s got onto our iPods. We, um... ripped them from our CDs.

  • by iPhr0stByt3 (1278060) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @08:47PM (#33682702)
    Because ebooks are not purchased... they're stolen: http://dilbert.com/2010-09-18/ [dilbert.com]
  • by bradley13 (1118935) on Friday September 24, 2010 @06:45AM (#33685214) Homepage

    We have also dabbled our toes in ebooks - we have two smart-phones, one dedicated reader, and a library of maybe 50 ebooks (as opposed to a couple thousand paper books). Even at 50 books, I am already frustrated by the quality of the ebook software on all of these devices. Reading is ok - it's the library management that sucks. Even PC-based software like Calibre isn't much good.

    Here's an example: Suppose you have a mass of titles by the same author, some are individual books, others belong to various series. You've just finished a book, and want to read the next one in that particular series. With paper books, I will have put the books on the shelf in the right order. Put the finished book back, take the next one to the right. With ebooks? The books are most likely sorted by title. The series information is generally not available. You wind up opening up several books, hoping that they list the series in the right order, or that you can tell from the publication date.

    This is just one minor frustration among many. When I imagine having a couple of thousand ebooks in one library - gack, it's really a pretty horrible thought.

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