According to this blog post, the death of print media is coming sooner than we think. Amazon recently said it’s now selling more e-books than paperbacks, and “for every 100 paperback books they’ve sold this January, they’re selling 115 ebooks…” This means ebook sales are 45 percent of all Amazon book sales. But what about ereaders?
Cavanaugh says, “I’m sticking by my assertion that e-readers themselves are way stations that will soon go the way of the Pong console. You can see that with every new generation of e-reader, which adds new writability and interactivity that make the devices behave more and more like those electronic brains our ancestors used to all “laptops.”
All of this is very interesting, especially just after Digital Book World, where Random House announced their plan to soon sell 50 percent ebooks, 50 percent print books. How will publishers change their strategies to raise their ebook sales? And how will they format their ebooks to fit new devices and ways to read them? Will it be a problem?
Here is a great example of the future of publishing. It’s not unusual to publish famous speeches, but with new technology we’re now able to quickly convert speeches into ebooks. Books are changing, and I think the new version of books will be shorter and more experimental. St. Martin’s Press’s ebook of President Obama’s speech at the Tucson memorial service on January 12 is just the start.
Turns out, libraries are still very important. And they can help publishers sell more books than bloggers. Libraries do what is called one-book, one-lend, which means the library licenses a book, someone comes in and downloads the book, that person is able to read that book for a specified period of time (usually two weeks), and then that person can no longer access the file. In December of 2010 alone, the New York Public Library had 36,000 ebook checkouts.
Still, not all ebooks are available to libraries. For example, “Life” by Keith Richards and “Freedom” by Jonathan Franzen are not yet available. And people with Kindles are not able to check out ebooks because the Kindle only works with books that come from Amazon.
But the future of publishing seems to be with the ability to read any book at any time. I suspect some day Amazon will allow its books to be read on other devices, and all publishers will soon see the importance of making all books available in ebook format, particularly the best sellers.