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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ebooks outselling paperbacks!

At Amazon, at any rate. Which is still big news. Read the article at Mashable. It solidifies that the trend is moving toward ebooks even as paperback sales increase. And one could argue that paperback sales are increasing at Amazon because of the success with ebooks.

Amazon had a head start on ebooks, being the first to offer up a popular ereader along with a vast inventory of ebooks that have grown by leaps and bounds thanks to their innovation in allowing authors to turn it into a self-publishing platform. B&N only recently realized the wisdom of this and came out with their own method, but many months after Amazon's had already been in place.

Does this mean the paperback is going away? No, but this hearkens to the day when it will no longer be the primary method of reading a book. Yes, I know, everyone likes to feel and smell the paper in your hands. And there certainly are advantages in paperbacks and hardbacks over ebooks. That said, there are massive advantages ebooks have over paperbacks, and the generations growing up now are used to reading on cell phones, texting, and using ereaders. They aren't going to care as much for the smell of a new book. In fact, reading a paperback will be something of a "just to experience it" than how they want to read a book.

And to a large degree, I'm already in that camp. I'd rather read on my cell phone than hold up a heavy book, trying to keep the pages separated with one hand while I drink with the other, and have to set down my drink just to turn the page, when with my cell phone I just reach my thumb over and tap on the screen. Easy, convenient, and a whole library of books on my hip, ready for me to read when I find a spare moment to do so.

If a fifty-year old guy like me is already hooked, can you imagine how many of the younger ones who don't have the same nostalgia for holding a paperback in their hands?

The trend is obvious now. And there are many publishers and retailers scrambling to position themselves. Understandable since this warning had been going for years and it never came. Well, now it's here. You're either taking advantage of it or your not. Gone are the days when authors and publishers can afford to ignore ebooks. Because if you are, you're missing a big segment of the book-buying population.

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