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Books United Kingdom News

Kindle E-Book Sales Surpass Print Sales In UK 207

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the big-brother-is-quite-pleased dept.
twoheadedboy writes "Book lovers are increasingly turning to e-books, and in the UK Amazon has announced it now sells more e-books than physical copies on Amazon.co.uk. Kindle books surpassed sales of hardbacks in the UK back in May 2011 at a rate of two to one and now they have leapfrogged the combined totals of both hardbacks and paperbacks."
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Kindle E-Book Sales Surpass Print Sales In UK

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  • Now an ebook.
    • Now an ebook.

      What this means is that, whilst old 'first edition' books will still be collected, they may now be seen as an artefact of a past way of living, much like chamberpots or bedwarmers.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Savage-Rabbit (308260)

        Now an ebook.

        What this means is that, whilst old 'first edition' books will still be collected, they may now be seen as an artefact of a past way of living, much like chamberpots or bedwarmers.

        Not so sure about that, publishing only ebooks will lead to massive piracy. This may not be an issue for the big names in publishing but it will be the end of many small specialist publishers if they go all digital. These small publishers may actually be better off staying analog since printed books are a pretty good anti piracy defense plus those customers that are really interested in this specialist literature will still buy the paper books. It takes way more time to scan and OCR process a book than it

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by BlackCreek (1004083)

          > This may not be an issue for the big names in publishing but it will be the end of many small specialist publishers if they go all digital. These small publishers may actually be better off staying analog since printed books are a pretty good anti piracy defense plus those customers that are really interested in this specialist literature will still buy the paper books.

          I read many things that go under 'specialist literature'. Trouble is, there is so much (good) stuff to read that I one of the ways I se

          • by cpu6502 (1960974)

            >>>I read many things that go under 'specialist literature'. Trouble is, there is so much (good) stuff to read that I one of the ways I select what to read is "is it available as an e-book?".

            Same here but in magazine format. My filter: "Is the e-magazine cheaper then the paper magazine?" So far the only one that is cheaper is Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine ($12 instead of $34). The other magazines like Asimovs and Analog charge the same amount even though they are not wasting money on po

        • Re:First edition (Score:4, Insightful)

          by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @08:10AM (#40903855) Homepage
          Yeah, but you only have to scan it once. Then release it on the internet. Maybe it won't end well for small time publishers, but the authors they publish could see a boost in the popularity of their work. I've read way more books on my eReader in the past year, than I read in the previous 5 years before I owned it. And every book I've read on my eReader was not pirated (many were free however). As Cory Doctorow says, the problems for most authors isn't piracy, it's obscurity. Getting people to read your work is the hardest part. Once the author has you reading his books, it's that much easier to get you to pay for one.
        • Re:First edition (Score:4, Insightful)

          by somersault (912633) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @08:27AM (#40903975) Homepage Journal

          publishing only ebooks will lead to massive piracy

          Why any more piracy than will already exist with current levels of ebook distribution? I'm not really convinced by what you're saying.

          There are clearly plenty of people like me who buy ebooks, and apparently even more than buy paper books now, at least among online savvy shoppers. Yes, there will always be freeloaders, but not everyone is that selfish.

        • by stanlyb (1839382)
          You man, are TROLL. The naked truth is that thanks to eBooks, now we have a lot more authors than before, and their work is pretty good, even if they were not chosen by the big names (whatever that means!!!). Man, you need to sharpen your argument if you want to justify your salary.
        • You can already find the ebook pirated for a lot of things. If you aren't too picky (ie it must be books 1-5 of this particular scifi series) you can easily download a lifetime of stuff to read in a weekend and not pay a dime. I think you're right in the wrong way. As long as paper copies exist there will be people that collect them just because they have a mild form of hording behaviour, or prefer paper to electronic and it is a pain to find the paper copy so buy it by default. What could/probably will mak

  • kindle...? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by macshit (157376) <miles&gnu,org> on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @05:12AM (#40903095) Homepage

    So does the kindle support ePub yet ...?

    (or non-latin scripts?)

    • Re:kindle...? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Altanar (56809) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @05:21AM (#40903129)
      File formats supported: "Kindle (AZW), Kindle Format 8 (AZW3), TXT, PDF, Audible (Audible Enhanced(AA,AAX)), MP3, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively; HTML, DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP through conversion." Kindle has supported non-latin scripts since the Kindle 3 model that came out in 2010.
    • The newer KF8 format supports embedded TTF fonts. (Don't know if it supports RTL though) Here is one I created in Cherokee (definately *not* latin): http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006YJRQGC/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B006YJRQGC&linkCode=as2&tag=wwwcherokeele-20 [amazon.com]
    • Re:kindle...? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Havenwar (867124) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @05:31AM (#40903159)

      I actually don't know how most people put media on their kindles, but I use calibre. http://calibre-ebook.com/ [calibre-ebook.com]

      It converts from epub to mobi without any issues as far as I've seen. The main achilles heel is pdf's as far as I'm concerned... sure, the kindle gladly displays them, but you can't change font size or anything but have to rather zoom in on parts of static pages, which is very annoying. Of course this isn't a problem with kindles, but rather typical of the PDF format.

      • Can you extract text from a pdf and keep basic layout formatting?
        • Re:kindle...? (Score:4, Informative)

          by Havenwar (867124) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @05:56AM (#40903263)

          In my experience PDFs convert badly, partly because many times they are badly made - the text might be encoded as images rather than text, or there might be security added so that you can't select text or such. Of course this depends on where you get your PDFs from, but as a generalization of the pdfs in the ebook scene it seems to hold accurate.

          But like I said, this is a problem with PDFs, not with the kindle.

          • Just had a play with google docs ORC from pdf/image tool. The typeset text came out, the hand written text (which is illegible for the most part) didn't and I didn't expect it to. I do hate pdfs for learning to code ebooks. I procrastinate lots, so I could easily re-typeset a whole book before I actually read it :)
            • by Havenwar (867124)

              I've been known to do the same at times, although I try not to... But say I've downloaded a series of books and one book in the middle has major formatting errors - well gee, there's half a day well spent.

          • by Lumpy (12016)

            I also experience this and it's because most PDF's are horribly designed by people that need to be beaten with the Acrobat manual. I have a PDF that you can not read in any reader but the actual adobe PDF reader. it's because the idiot that made it put a fancy background on every page and got the Z order wrong. Adobe forces text to the front all the times, other readers will do as they are told.

            Step 1 is to find the people that made the PDF and beat them bloody with the Spec Manual for the PDF format.

            • I also experience this and it's because most PDF's are horribly designed by people that need to be beaten with the Acrobat manual.

              That's funny. According to a few PDF processing tools that I have, people who wrote Acrobat need in turn to be beaten with the PDF specification document.

              • I also experience this and it's because most PDF's are horribly designed by people that need to be beaten with the Acrobat manual.

                According to a few PDF processing tools that I have, people who wrote Acrobat need in turn to be beaten with the PDF specification document.

                You're both right, except they should beat each other with Louisville Sluggers instead of mere sheets of paper.

            • by Havenwar (867124)

              In most cases that I've had issues with I believe it's not so much bad people but bad software. Users converting to PDF using various software just because PDF is as close to a "universal" format as you can come... supposedly. Hopefully this boom in ebook readers means other formats will take over that role.

            • Step 1 is to find the people that made the PDF and beat them bloody with the Spec Manual for the PDF format.

              But isn't the spec manual a PDF?

          • I bought a Nook, with the aim of reading Cisco technical manuals on it. But it is horrible to use with PDFs, as I gather are other brands too.

            Because it is a 7" device and the PDF pages have large margins, I normally want to enlarge the pages. BUT, I cannot turn a page without going back to normal size first. Then I need to enlarge the next page ..... It is pretty much unusable for PDFs. I've been considering getting a 10" Android for this purpose.

            • by Havenwar (867124)

              A tablet might work better, but then I bought an e-ink device specifically for the battery life, which no tablet comes even close to matching. I could definitely see the use of a good pdf-reading tablet for technical manuals however... or for say roleplaying rulebooks. I'd still prefer it if people just started using simpler formats for things that are mostly text-based and doesn't require so much fancy formatting. A stunning amount of things I've found in PDF format only could have been just as well format

            • by chooks (71012)

              I have a kindle fire and read PDF's (medical textbooks) on it all the time. I do have to zoom in, but that "sticks" from page to page so I just have to do it once. Note -- this is with the Mantano reader (free version) which handles pdf better than the native kindle app (e.g. allows highlighting, freehand notes, etc..)

              I have tried converting the PDF to mobi/epub with calibre (which works) but the layout gets really crappy -- especially with respect to the legends of figures/images/tables.

        • Can you extract text from a pdf and keep basic layout formatting?

          There are basically two very different PDF formats:

          • - Classic (generated by most print-to-PDF programs)
          • - Flowing (specially designed for book reading)

          The classic format is essentially Postscript with absolute positioning of text fragments in page. There are many programs that try to guess the original document flow with better or worse success. Even worse, some PDF documents are scanned so short of OCR and its own problems there is no text and little formatting.

          The flowing format is similar to HTML so

      • by Sique (173459)

        The main issue I have with ePub->MOBI conversion so far is that sometimes the page breaks stay as they were in ePub, which makes reading them awkward in Kindle - you often have an ePub-page converted to one and a half page in MOBI.
        I am thinking about an perl script to fix that, but for now, I was too lazy.

        • by Havenwar (867124)

          Hmm, I've never encountered that problem that I can recall, not from epub. Perhaps I've just been lucky, perhaps I've fiddled around with the settings at some point.

      • Re:kindle...? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @06:17AM (#40903343) Homepage

        There are only two devices that are useful for reading pdf's.

        Kindle DX, and iPad. you really need the big screen.

        • by Havenwar (867124)

          Yeah exactly. I actually read quite a lot of them on my second screen while I'm compiling... It bugs me that pdf is such a popular format for things that doesn't benefit from it - like anything that is mostly just text.

        • by DrXym (126579)

          Kindle DX, and iPad. you really need the big screen.

          More importantly you need a responsive screen. PDFs more than other formats require pinch to zoom, pan etc. to work reasonably because they often don't fit in a screen well or contain detail that necessitates zooming in to see.

        • by iampiti (1059688)
          Or any other large e-ink based reades as the Onyx M92. 9'7 inches, so-so software but the hardware is very nice.
    • by NoKaOi (1415755)

      So does the kindle support ePub yet ...?

      No, it doesn't support ePub, but Amazon does have a free program (search for "kindlegen") that will convert epub to mobi. There's even have a Linux version. Obviously not as good as actually supporting it on the Kindle, but works.

  • by wild_quinine (998562) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @05:17AM (#40903109) Homepage
    Another vindication for technological progress, and another steely blow to the right of first sale.
    • by jamesh (87723)

      Can we get our rights back, please?

      Another vindication for technological progress, and another steely blow to the right of first sale.

      No. The idea of first sale belongs to the world of physical things, and the physical world is slowly learning to adjust to what that means. Stop trying to apply physical laws to information.

      Now get off your lawn!

      • No. The idea of first sale belongs to the world of physical things, and the physical world is slowly learning to adjust to what that means. Stop trying to apply physical laws to information.

        When it has finished adjusting, I fully expect to be able to copy as many things as I want as often as I want. And I still expect art to be created, and many artists to make a living wage. All this will take time. Meanwhile, pretending I've bought something when I can hardly even use it, is a farce.

      • by Jahta (1141213)

        Can we get our rights back, please?

        Another vindication for technological progress, and another steely blow to the right of first sale.

        No. The idea of first sale belongs to the world of physical things, and the physical world is slowly learning to adjust to what that means. Stop trying to apply physical laws to information.

        Now get off your lawn!

        And what about your right not to have books that you have legally bought and paid for effectively stolen back from you by the retailer [theregister.co.uk]? Does that only apply to the "world of physical things" too?

        I have an ebook reader and while it has undeniably cool and useful features, I'm not blind to the things I'm losing; ability to resell/give to a charity shop, lend to a friend, read anywhere/anytime and not just on the retailer's preferred devices/DRM scheme, and even (on some platforms) control over my own library

        • by jamesh (87723)

          And what about your right not to have books that you have legally bought and paid for effectively stolen back from you by the retailer [theregister.co.uk]? Does that only apply to the "world of physical things" too?

          They are revoking your right to access it, not 'stealing' it back. You didn't buy it (how can you buy information???), you bought the right to access it. It turns out Amazon didn't have the right to sell you in the first place, which also invalidated the purchase you made from them. AFAIK they refunded the purchase price anyway so if you want to draw a parallel with the physical world it's more like someone selling you a stolen car then the original owner taking it back from you, with the added bonus that a

          • by Jahta (1141213)

            And what about your right not to have books that you have legally bought and paid for effectively stolen back from you by the retailer [theregister.co.uk]? Does that only apply to the "world of physical things" too?

            They are revoking your right to access it, not 'stealing' it back. You didn't buy it (how can you buy information???), you bought the right to access it. It turns out Amazon didn't have the right to sell you in the first place, which also invalidated the purchase you made from them. AFAIK they refunded the purchase price anyway so if you want to draw a parallel with the physical world it's more like someone selling you a stolen car then the original owner taking it back from you, with the added bonus that actually get your money back.

            Eh, no. It's more like a bookseller sells you a book, then breaks into your house and takes the book off your bookshelf, then later sends you a note saying "Oops, my bad!" and enclosing a cheque. It doesn't make the break-in right.

            The problem is that the content owners have invented the artificial concept of your right to access something so they can derive a revenue from their work, and then the resellers use that concept to try and also make money for themselves.

            Actually I'm fine with paying content creators for their work. They have to make living like everybody else. "Information just wants to be free" doesn't pay your mortgage or your grocery bills. But once I pay for my copy, it should be mine in perpetuity. Not stolen back/revok

            • by Glothar (53068)

              Eh, no. It's more like a bookseller sells you a book, then breaks into your house and takes the book off your bookshelf, then later sends you a note saying "Oops, my bad!" and enclosing a cheque. It doesn't make the break-in right.

              It does if the book you bought was stolen from the rightful owner

              But once I pay for my copy, it should be mine in perpetuity. Not stolen back/revoked/whatever on a whim later.

              Figure it out: You didn't buy the book. You bought stolen information. By copyright law, you're only allowed to have a copy of the art if you legally obtain the right to a copy (a license, more or less). In that case, you did not. You obtained a false license from a retailer who did not have the legal authority to sell you access to the book. As such, your access to the book was removed as it was never legally given to you.

      • by c0lo (1497653)

        Stop trying to apply physical laws to information.

        No exceptions admitted? [wikipedia.org]

        • by Jamu (852752)
          I don't think he meant physical in that sense, more like the hardware sense.

          Hardware: the part of the computer that you can kick.

    • by Rogerborg (306625) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @06:13AM (#40903327) Homepage

      Good luck with flogging that high horse with your buggy whip.

      If you want to buy a tangible object, read it, sell it, rub it all over your nekkid body while singing Yankee Doodle, you're still free do so.

      Meanwhile, the rest of us will shed our hair shirts and enjoy living in the future.

      OK, the science. What we buy is a copy. We can't sell that copy without selling the physical device that it's on. Really, we can't. To get it on someone else's device, we'd have to make another copy.

      Get that? It's not semantics, we can't actually sell the eBook that we bought, we can only duplicate it.

      What does your most high and holy doctrine of first sale have to say about that? Given it was conjured up in the stone age by slave owning wizards (to hear tell), I'm guessing not a lot.

      • by davide marney (231845) <davide,marney&netmedia,org> on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @07:12AM (#40903577) Journal
        You buy two books from Amazon, one physical and the other for the Kindle. After you finish reading them, you want to pass it around your family and friends. To share the physical copy, you just ... hand it to someone. To share the Kindle copy, you must give Amazon that person's email address. They are then allowed to read it for two weeks. And you can only share it once.

        Given the fact that Kindle books often cost the same or more than physical books, these restrictions make the Kindle versions a very bad deal for the consumer. Worse, in my opinion, than DRM on music, because you have to give up the email address of the person you are sharing your purchase with. Name me one other merchant who requires that you personally identify the person you share a purchase with. I'm not sure that's even legal, but even if it is, it's a horrible precedent.
      • What does your most high and holy doctrine of first sale have to say about that?

        For a similar result, simply send them a copy of the ebook and then delete your own. Now, I don't really see the point in deleting your own copy, but that's how you'd get a similar result.

        Given it was conjured up in the stone age by slave owning wizards

        Really? It makes quite a bit of sense to me.

    • Not only that, the UK government charges the full 20% VAT rate on ebooks, where it charges 0% on physical books.
  • I am quite thankful for e-readers as they have allowed me to read more books in a more convenient format by solving problems I was experiencing with paper books, namely: storage (I own too many books and carry too many books while traveling) and font size (I have an eagle nose, not eagle eyes).

    For all the problems (DRM, bad typesetting) and the perception of (IMO hyperbolic) problems with e-books (oh, Amazon will know which page I am reading -- as if there was not a direct way to turn that off AND as if you

  • by Shivetya (243324) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @06:10AM (#40903319) Homepage Journal

    having a Kindle touch, Kindle Fire, and even an iPad 2, I find myself reading almost all new books on the Kindle Touch. For two reasons, its so damn light and second because I can use it in full sun light.

    For me nothing beats being able to read outside without having to worry about glare and portability. While I am still a fan of hard cover books, having shelves of them, I am more than happy to own an e-reader version of them. Too bad publishers don't help the trend and follow a similar model DVD publishers do, where you can get a digital version without your hard copy.

  • by 1u3hr (530656) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @06:17AM (#40903339)
    "Kindle E-Book Sales Surpass Print Sales In UK"

    Bullshit. The actual story is Kindle E-Book Sales Surpass Print Sales ON AMAZON In UK.

    Huge difference.

  • Can you back up the ebooks? This is *absolutely crucial*. A year or so ago, Amazon pulled existing copies of "1984" by George Orwell because of a licensing dispute. It would be naive to think that a government will not take advantage of this "kill switch" (and it doesn't even have to be a government to be scary, if a company can censor information that's just as bad). If you can back them up, on the other hand, then all is good. Doesn't matter if they're DRMed either, as long as you can load them back onto

    • by Quirkz (1206400)
      I can back up all the ePub books I have for my Nook, yes. Most of what I own were public domain or Baen free books, with no DRM, and it's simple to make backup copies. With a few that I've purchased online I'm mostly trusting the vendor to keep a copy for me, though if I wanted to take the time I could probably strip the DRM and then make a copy. Other than the one example of the 1984 pull, I can't think of many other incidents of that happening, and I'm not going to live my life in fear of a repeat until i
  • I've been reading the whole Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, in preparation for the release of Brandon Sanderson's completion of the series this next year. I discovered that I'd misplaced a copy or two of the middle hardcover books that I bought over the past 20 years in the fourteen book series, so I bought the missing copies on Kindle. At first I didn't expect to enjoy reading it, but after discovering how to zoom the font, and the relative light weight (considering the size of the Wheel of Time boo
  • As long as we are on the topic of ebooks, anybody know of a good ebook reader for *PDF*? A lot technical stuff that I have is in the form of PDFs, and I was wondering if any body had a good experience reading those on ebook reader.

    (E-ink based ebook readers, btw, not one of those Tablet-Reader combos like Nook Colour or iPad or whatever)

    • by cpghost (719344)
      Using Kindle DX here for PDFs. Works fine.
      • Isn't that old and possibly unsupported?
        Also, are you recommending it due to its large screen, or because of its ease of readability (page turn, text flow etc)?

        • by cpghost (719344)
          I'm using it because of its big screen and native PDF support. It is good enough for me, most of the time. One big disadvantage to me is that it lacks the split-screen ability. You see, I read a lot of math articles, and I like to display a theorem and scroll through the proof at the same time. Kindle DX lacks this basic capability. But save for that, it's quite usable, IMHO.
          • Ah curses, I would have liked that ability too, often you want to browse a question paper and solution together, on a computer you can just switch tabs, I think it becomes a lot more cumbersome on an ebook reader.

            Nevertheless, thank you for your recommendation. Am I correct in believing the DX is the only reader in it's size category? A pity no one explored that market.

  • Does the public domain books that you "buy" and cost 0,00 also count as a sale?
  • by TigerPlish (174064) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @02:00PM (#40907681)

    Don't get me wrong, I live in the Now, and always have an eye down the road for Later but my heart relishes the comforts of Then. From what I observe around me, this is hard-wired into us.

    I don't like the idea of books, film and music being only available as ethereal data. I double dislike the idea when one factors in "cloud" storage, and a vendor's ability to remove things from that cloud.

    Can you imagine? "License" "Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt" now in 2012, watch it a bunch of times, then in 2022 try to go to it again only to find.. "Due to violation of Federal Decency Code #A113 paragraph 1313, this title has been removed for your own protection." I *can* see this happening. Good thing I have it in hardcopy here.. You want it? *come and get it*

    How about availability? Can you get, 50 years from now, an e-book of some low-run title from some unheard of author? Cinemas are starting to find this out right now.. "Oh, you want "Everybody Sing" (1938, Judy Garland) in 4k DCI? So sorry, we don't have it.. but we do have the last 35mm print known to exist.. what's that you say? You sold your film projectors in the Great Physical Purge of 2012? So sorry to hear that! We can offer you the latest by Michael Ba"----*CLICK*

    Speaking broadly, aren't we headed for a possible Digital Alexandria, or a Digital Book Burning Party? Didn't one of the major e-bookstores remove Tom Sawyer from reader's devices? What would prevent this on a much larger scale? What would prevent a government from declaring a title "verbotten" and having the e-vendors pull it from all readers' devices and zap it from the cloud?

    I can't think of a world where all the world's books, music and film are sold and contained in "the cloud." I may be getting old, so I may have a skewed perspective on the physical world.. but there's little comfort to be found knowing that I have Mahoromatic on my hard drive, vs. just looking over my shoulder and seeing the 8 books sitting in my shelf, snugly surrounded by other obscure titles that no one in the mainstream cares about. A shelf full of books, film and music is a good sign. To me, anyway.

    And yet, as I say all this, one of my back-burner projects is to build a home media server and stuff it with bit-for-bit copies of all my music and film. The physical media itself would remain, right where it is, lining the walls of my favorite room.

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