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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.
  • 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.
  • 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:price (Score:5, Insightful)

    by airfoobar (1853132) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:01PM (#33681780)

    The very reason ebook prices are so high is because publishers won't let Amazon drop them further, as that would cannibalise their book sales in which they get much larger margins.

    But, I doubt ebooks will ever replace books completely (at least in the foreseeable future). Books will be around a lot longer than CDs, DVDs, BDs, and many other such media.

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.

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

    by Entropy98 (1340659) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:10PM (#33681878) Homepage

    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]

  • by AnonymousClown (1788472) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:16PM (#33681946)

    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?

  • 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:20PM (#33681982)

    I like the idea of ebooks and being able to carry around a library on my iphone, I don't want books to go away. I don't know of any DRM that prevents me from sharing paper, whereas there are plenty of restrictive digital formats. There's plenty of reasons that textbook publishers would like ebooks, though. They can charge the almost the same amount for an electronic copy, save on printing costs, and implement DRM to stifle the used books business. There are good things about ebooks, but there's a certain freedom about paper that I prefer.

  • 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.

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

    by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld.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.
  • Books won't die. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by equex (747231) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:33PM (#33682112) Homepage
    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: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?
  • Re:price (Score:5, Insightful)

    by airfoobar (1853132) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:39PM (#33682168)

    a $10 ebook nets them about as much profit as a $26 hardcover

    That doesn't come as a surprise. The paperback version of a book is often cheaper than the ebook!

  • 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.
  • Re:price (Score:4, Insightful)

    by morari (1080535) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:52PM (#33682288) Journal

    I also own a Nook. I've been very happy with it, but I've always been a heavy reader. That said, I do believe that ebook prices are outrageous. I don't think anyone would really argue that they aren't. The publishers need to wake up, lest they find themselves in the same boat that the music industry did when Napster blew up.

  • Re:Wrong title (Score:3, Insightful)

    by garcia (6573) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:52PM (#33682294) Homepage

    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, I still just can't imagine that I'd be doing it "the new way" even if I had a hand held reader.

    My limited use of a hand held reader has been met with mixed emotion. I think they're slick devices but I don't like the cost of them, the cost of the e-books, and I certainly don't like the lack of a second sale+. When my e-books can be browsed for and purchased at a local bookstore for less than $1 then I'll be more interested.

    YMMV.

  • by syousef (465911) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @08:15PM (#33682496) Journal

    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.

  • by syousef (465911) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @08:17PM (#33682520) Journal

    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 in 25 years even with backups to multiple devices? You're just renting them, and the rental period isn't even specified.

    If they were DRM free, it'd be a different story. Key advantages include not only storage space, but being able to carry the whole lot with you, and being able to search them.

  • by hahn (101816) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @08:37PM (#33682642) Homepage

    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.

  • Re:DRM (Score:3, Insightful)

    by catbutt (469582) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @08:49PM (#33682724)
    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 have to worry about photos stored in boxes that I rarely look at, have to worry about in case of fire, have to deal with when I move, etc. I just have digital copies that very little effort to copy onto backup media, new computers, etc. Maybe sad to lose that moment of "look what I found in the attic", but that is far outweighed by the enjoyment I get be having all the photos instantly accessible.

    Same thing can apply to books.
  • Re:Is it just me? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @09:07PM (#33682834)

    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?

  • by cduffy (652) <charles+slashdot@dyfis.net> on Thursday September 23, 2010 @09:10PM (#33682850)

    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, out of reading material". Anything I care about? Unencrypted or paper (preferably in the former -- living in a downtown condo makes the cost of cube footage an active concern).

    Someone can be aware of what they're trading on, and still decide that "purchasing" DRM-encumbered media is an appropriate short-term tactical choice.

  • 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:price (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shellbeach (610559) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @09:42PM (#33683040)

    I'm a happy owner of a Nook. The only faults ebooks have right now is that even basic typesetting is almost entirely non-existent on them. Things that could be done automatically by the ereader -- things you don't realize you want until you don't have them, like paragraph-optimized justification, automatic hyphenation, preventing lone paragraph lines on page boundaries, hanging punctuation, and ligatures -- aren't there. Ebooks are displayed either with left-aligned text or with an obnoxiously-spacious justification.

    I completely agree -- the main thing that's holding me back from buying an e-ink device is a complete lack of decent typography in the software. If ebook readers want to be treated in the same category as real books, they have to look like real books, and that includes the basic typography rules you've mentioned. It's not hard ... I don't understand why even large companies like Amazon haven't invested in this simple, obvious step. The hardware is there now, it's only the software that is completely lacking.

    Mind you, I've noticed that print publishers are becoming more and more compromised in terms of their typography too -- ligature marks are rapidly disappearing, meaning that even in print we now get fugly "fi"s half the time. Drives me insane! :(

  • Re:price (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cassius Corodes (1084513) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @10:28PM (#33683346)
    For me there are two categories of books - "average" books that I like, but not incredibly, that I get as ebooks, and there are those that I really treasure that I get as hard-covers. It must be something about the physical nature of books that ebooks just dont do for me. Admittedly a part of me is also always preparing for the post-apocalyptic scenario where there is no power - you dont see e-books giving you a 2% increase in skills.
  • Re:Wrong title (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dutch Gun (899105) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @10:35PM (#33683398)

    What is far, far more likely is each ebook will be purchased once, the DRM stripped and the resulting file posted in five or six different formats for the planet to freely download.

    You could theoretically do that with music, yet people buy in droves from iTunes and Amazon, 100% DRM free. Eventually, publishers will realize it's pointless to fight the tide of technology and market forces, or they'll simply go out of business.

    Many people don't mind rewarding companies that offer good products at reasonable prices - especially when its more convenient to purchase legitimately than to pirate. That, to me, is the real lesson to be learned from the Kindle. Purchasing an e-book is so convenient, I have a hard time imagining it to be much easier. Once the costs fall into line with the perceived value and the readers come down in price (like $50 for a reader low), you'll see the e-book market explode, and printed books will be a boutique item (high-quality hardbacks), or only available as print-on-demand. Of course, this won't happen overnight. It will occur gradually over the next decade or two - the same way computers, internet access, and cell phones have become completely ubiquitous technology among the citizens of first-world nations.

    Also, I find it amusing that someone purchasing CDs is held up as an example as some sort of technological Luddite.

  • Why? Because... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fyngyrz (762201) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @10:47PM (#33683452) Homepage Journal

    Why have any middleman?

    Editing, mainly. Most authors need one or more editors, or at least a collection of "beta readers." I own a literary agency, and I have to tell you, of the best authors we handle, there isn't a single one of them that hasn't handed us a manuscript with glaring errors in it. Some authors are terrible with spelling, grammar -- and yet are compelling storytellers.

    Ideally for the authors and the readers, this will settle out as a service offered the authors, rather than an artifact of the path to a physical object, but right now, the publishers have a death grip because they control the majority of the market, which is still printed matter. There is little purpose for them (other than editing) to even exist in the realm of e-books; and that's why they're trying to use print to gather in every book's e-rights. The last thing they want is an author out there going right to the e-store and bypassing them entirely - but that's what the economics here clearly indicate is the optimum path.

    Next, you do, generally speaking, need a store. If every book were sold from its own website, it'd be very inconvenient for buyers. A store where you can browse many books is better in too many ways to be overcome by individual web sites. So that middleman will continue to exist as well.

    Physical book publishers are literally (sorry) in the position of buggy whip manufacturers at the very beginning of the motorcar era. Other than tabletop photo books, their reasons to exist are beginning to go away. Considering how many fine works by new authors they have prevented the public from seeing, while publishing the most awful dreck simply because an author had sold material in the past, I have to say... good.

  • Re:eBook pricing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Omestes (471991) <omestes@gmail.CURIEcom minus physicist> on Thursday September 23, 2010 @10:53PM (#33683484) Homepage Journal

    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 are from sources other than Barnes and Noble for the lack of DRM.

  • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RedWizzard (192002) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @10:58PM (#33683514)
    If there are two possible meanings and one of them makes no sense then I think it is safe to assume that the other meaning is the intended one.
  • Re:price (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BLKMGK (34057) <morejunk4meNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Thursday September 23, 2010 @11:16PM (#33683648) Homepage Journal

    I did it for all of Harry Potter and then nothing else for years - and yes I owned multiple hard and soft copies of that series. Then earlier this year prices went through the roof and some books were no longer available anymore! I was reading a book+ a week and traveling so like I did with music I turned elsewhere. Music I now get from Amazon for my iPhone, not encumbered and a decent price. When books return to being reasonable I will probably do the same. These guys really are being dumb, thankfully some of the authors are a little brighter. I wish more of them had tip jars....

  • Re:What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BluBrick (1924) <blubrick@@@gmail...com> on Thursday September 23, 2010 @11:47PM (#33683776) Homepage
    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.
  • Re:What? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Idiomatick (976696) on Friday September 24, 2010 @12:57AM (#33684122)
    There is an important difference. The figure you come up with is wrong. You can interpret it two ways:

    E-books have 6% the sales that printed books have.
    E-books make up 6% of book sales.

    The first way is the option you came up with but it results in a different figure than reality.

    If 1000 books total were sold then your interpretation would mean that 57 were e-books, 943 printed. By the other interpretation it would mean that 60 were e-books, 940 printed.

    The discrepancy is more obvious if you change 6% to 100%. In the first view you are saying e-book sales equal printed sales, the second view you are saying that e-book sales are the only books sold.
  • Re:Is it just me? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BrokenHalo (565198) on Friday September 24, 2010 @01:04AM (#33684144)
    If you're straining to read text, you should really consider getting your eyesight properly assessed. No point worrying about vanity: if you need glasses, then you need glasses. Just find yourself a really cool pair.
  • Re:DRM (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dissy (172727) on Friday September 24, 2010 @01:48AM (#33684218)

    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 software in an emulator today.

    The fact it is pretty trivial to do with todays technology is beside the point. There is still a lot of software and information from that age that is simply lost, and I do not expect that trend to stop in the future, but instead to only get worse :{

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

    by shri (17709) <(shriramc) (at) (gmail.com)> on Friday September 24, 2010 @02:04AM (#33684256) Homepage
    >> When this occurred I went from buying multiple books a month to torrenting them
    At what point do you get that sense of entitlement that you're allowed to pirate content? If you cant afford it, move on.
  • Re:eBook pricing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nursie (632944) on Friday September 24, 2010 @02:21AM (#33684314)

    "At what point do you get that sense of entitlement that you're allowed to pirate content? If you don't think it's worth the money, move on."

    FTFY.
    Otherwise agreed.

  • by fmrbastien (1334213) on Friday September 24, 2010 @02:58AM (#33684468)

    Here in Belgium, i bought a book for 9€, and i saw it in epub format for 16€, with DRM...

    One is cheaper and i can give it to my mother, another is expensive and is limited to one e-reader. Which of them do you choose?

  • by fantomas (94850) on Friday September 24, 2010 @04:01AM (#33684678)

    "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 step out of the computing and shiny-shiny ooh new geek toy communities that are unlikely to be interested in ebooks for a long time if ever. They'll be considering the whole technology package and how it fits into their lives. Most people in developed countries have come across a lot of technology in their daily lives now. They'll compare ebook readers to other technologies and factor that into their purchases of books in whatever format. "So if I want my book in ebook format, I've got to put down a couple of hundred dollars on another device before I can even open the first page of my ten dollar book, and it will probably last only a couple of years then break and I'll have to get another one, I am going to have to think about chargers and batteries, if it breaks will I be able to get all my books off the old one onto the new one in five minutes, can I read it on the beach?" - a lot of factors in there before ebook formats as technical packages get as good as 5 dollar books.

  • Dancing numbers (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 24, 2010 @04:57AM (#33684842)

    "Dancing numbers" and the illogical sums. From TFA:

    Hardcover+paperback: 29,3% ebooks
    Amazon sales: 90% of total

    If 90% is 29,3%, then the 100% is.... wait... it's not the "6 percent" MIT says! They used a Pentium 1 to do the calculus?

  • 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.

  • by orin (113079) on Friday September 24, 2010 @08:10AM (#33685514)
    Your book has likely been pirated. A lot of technical books are and odds on you are answering technical queries from people that hadn't actually bothered to purchase your book.

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