Friday, January 28, 2011

"Dead Tree Vs. E" Books continued

My previous post gave some of the reasons for sticking with hard copy books for the moment.

The late Arthur C Clarke once wrote a brilliant essay in response to an earlier suggestion that new technology - in this case via a cassette - might take over form the book.

He listed the characteristics which the ideal cassette would have, and then asked

"How long do we have to wait for this cassette? Answer, minus about two thousand years. It's called the book."

And yet there is little doubt that electronic books are having an impact.

The Times reports that last quarter Amazon's American site sold, for the first time, more e-books for its Kindle reader than paperbacks. In the last three months of 2010 they sold 115 Kindle books for every 100 paperbacks. If you add in hardback sales, total hard copy books were still slightly outselling e-books, but Jeff Bezos, Amazon's founder and chief executive, said that “Kindle books have now overtaken paperback books as the most popular format on Amazon.com”.

Hat tip to Political Betting today for drawing my attention to this article about how e-books are, in the author's opinion, changing the way people write and read books in all formats.

Where America leads, Britain usually follows. Will it be long before most voracious readers have a Kindle?

I still think they need a better business model before this type of kit really takes off, but I expect to see it happen this decade.

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