Friday, April 9, 2010

E-book sales soar!

There's an interesting article on E-Reads stating how e-book sales soared 4x from the previous February stats. But that wasn't surprising to me. Near the bottom the article ends with an interesting question and link to read another article: Can e-book sales bubble burst?

My gut is telling me no, not for a long time because we are seeing a rise in various hand-held devices that read e-books coming to the service. We are living in a tech world and with the surge of these devices I'm expecting the prices to drop which will make them available to more people.

I have a Sony e-reader and love it. Storing over 300 e-books I take it with me everywhere. Although it doesn't have that sweet smelling 'paper' scent I love from my print books, I still get the same gratifying read anywhere I choose. And it's the convenience of carrying more than one book that I love the most.

What about you guys? Do you have an e-book reader? Which one?

For those who don't, what's keeping you from buying? Prefer print over e-book? The price of an e-reader preventing you from purchasing?

So many companies are hopping on board and it's the wave of the 'reading' future.


14 comments:

Terri said...

Well, there are two or three good reasons. First, is the portability factor. Back when basically, you read ebooks on a desktop leaning over a CRT screen, it was just not comfortable, Therefore the only ebooks that did much good were those which had specific information you might find valuable.

However, now with netbooks that are not much bigger than a trade paperback, ereading devices that are just a few ounces and can be easily dropped into pocket or purse, and the convergence technologies like the smart phone, Itouch/Ipads, you can take an ebook with you as easily as you could a paperback.

Secondly, the screens are better. Backlit CRT's and even LCD's are hard on the eyes and are difficult to read in direct sunlight. So forget about reading your favorite book or scanning the NY Times while sitting on a park bench eating lunch. But e-papers and e-inks are read in ambient light.

Third, (and this may be a less obvious and minor issue) the graying of America. I'm of the boomer generation. For some reason, every year magazine and book print gets smaller and fuzzier. Go Figure! But with my JetBook Lite, I can adjust the font size.

Fourth, departure from the PDF style. Most of the Ebooks of the past tried a bit too hard to simulate the print reading experience by creating PDF's of the pages. For some devices and uses that is fine, but for most "on the go" reading on smaller devices it meant a lot of scrolling and things like page numbers and headings that kept popping up interfering with the flow of the reading.

With the emergence of .pdb, mobi, azx, and especially epub (based on pdf) we get a reading experience that is more relevant to the handheld device.

Finally, price. Kindles were close to $400 to start with. So were Sony ereaders. But now you can get your ereader or sony or kindle app downloaded to your smartphone or netbook for free. And if you want a standalone reader, you can get them down to $150. I got my Jetbook Lite from Ereader.com for $150 and got a $50 ebook credit. So, it actually cost me $100. That's the price of a print textbook. It's cheaper than a TV or smartphone. Even look at Apple, which is not known for low prices, Their Ipad (which is more than just a reader) is under $500 at release.

Considering that ebooks sell for 30-50 percent less than paper and ink books, you can amortize the cost in a short period of time.

And there are millions of classic volumes available on line for free. Last night I downloaded 20 obscure science fiction novels from the 19th Century for free from Gutenberg.org onto my reader in epub format.

About two years ago, I wrote a blog entry about what needed to happen for ebooks to take off and just about everything I mentioned has happened. I don't think people read my blog and got their acts together. I just think others recognized this too and started to make it happen.

Paul and Karen said...

I have Kindle on my laptop and love it - it's a free download. I'd like to get all my books on ebooks, I have too many shelves weighing down my floors.

I'm thinking of springing for an ereader, lighter weight than my laptop. Looking for something affordable and versatile. Want to make notes while I read. Checking out Sony now.

Great post. Love ebooks. Karen

Stephen Tremp said...

I have a Kindle or iPad on my mind and will buy one soon. I'm also having my books available as an e-book starting next month. E-books are here to stay. They're not going away. Great post.

Stephen Tremp

Cheryl said...

Santa brought me a Kindle last year and it has totally changed my opinion of e-books. While I still prefer a printed book to an e-book, the Kindle is easier to take with me to appointments.

Like Paul, space is also an issue in our home. Three out of four of us are avid readers. I had to begin donating review copies solely because I no longer had room to store them. I only hold onto a special few these days; the rest go to local libraries, the shelter, and the children's hospital.

The other thing that made me go for the Kindle is what Terri said about vision. While I'm Generation X, I now suffer from monovision--one eye sees near, the other far. It's much easier to increase the font size on the Kindle than to carry two sets of glasses.

Cheryl

Katie Hines said...

ebooks are definitely the wave of the future. I have been studying them, and they continue to gobble up percentages of book sales. I don't currently own an ebook reader (husband unemployed, yada yada yada), but am excited about getting one. BUT, it seems the new technology coming out changes almost daily, and I don't want to buy something that is going to be obsolete in a week.

That being said, with most of the ebook publishers using the agency model, the price of ebooks seems to be settling in at $9.99 to $12.99 per book. More expense, to me, than a good paperback.

So I plan on waiting, letting the dust settle a bit, and see what comes out the other side.

Susan Borowy said...

I don't have an e-book reader (yet)... I'm still addicted to having paper in my hands to hold as I read. I read soooo much on the computer online that I can't envision me having an e-book reader any time soon (unless Santa wanted to bring me one this year, ha!).

Karen Cioffi said...

I'm on the fence right now. I love books since it's so much easier to read and study from them - I mark in my books with pencil, but I am running out of room like everyone else.

I will probably have to start researching e-book readers soon.

MuseItUp Publishing said...

I find that the e-reader is really soft on the eyes. At first, like some, I believed it would feel like reading off my computer, but it's actually very soothing and comforting to sit on my sofa, feet up, lying back, and read for pleasure instead of editing at times. So for this, I am thankful.

Rhobin said...

I have an old Palm Pilot and I've loved it. Can't quite load 300 books, but enough to keep me occupied. I like it because I can read in the dark because of the back lit screen, so at night I don't keep my partner up. It's also light and easier to hold when reading in bed. I've looked at the Sony, but I'll wait to make a decision until my Palm dies.

Krista D. Ball said...

I have the Sony pocket. The glare on the Sony touch versions gave me a massive headache after reading for about 30 seconds in the store. The pocket is awesome. While I still take a paperback into the bath with me (ruining a $10 paperback vs a $200 piece of equipment), I take the reader pretty much everywhere. When I travel, it's easier to bring that than a two pound Robert Jordan novel :)

Angelica Weatherby said...

Don't have Kindle or any E-book specified objects... But I can see where E-books would be very handy in many ways! I am still reading print books a majority of the time. Textbooks- okay there's this huge textbook I refuse to carry anywhere unless it is to the bookstore. It is just heavy!

Michele said...

I still have to be sold on not holding a book in my hands when I'm reading it ... hard habit to break.

What I WANT is something that "reads" like a book (as many comments above described) BUT ALSO lets me make notes, or edit, without being a full-blown computer with all the bells and whistles I don't need.

I tried to load one of the e-book readers onto my desktop a few weeks ago, (sony or kindle, I think) but either missed one of the secret words I needed to make it work, or something else happened, and I never was able to open anything. Finally uninstalled it.

Intriguing conversation here, Lea. I'll keep reading.

RoadWriter

MuseItUp Publishing said...

To be totally honest, not sure if you can load a sony or kindle reader. I know there are others and you can find them on Acrobat's website. If I find where I have the links to these free downloads I'll post it on the blog as its own post, Michele.

As for notes, in one way I am thankful I cannot post anything in my Sony Reader because then it will feel as though I'm on the computer again. I want my reader to simply allow me to sit, relax and read without worrying about taking notes. If reading for a review then I have my notebook beside me and jot down my notes.

kester2 said...

I have to admit that I only bought an e-reader (an eBookwise 1150) because I have novels published as e-books and wanted to be able to do readings from them electronically. It hasn't happened, to the degree I expected.
However, I find that my wife, who hates computers, will read happily from the 1150 -- and yes it does provide larger print for our old eyes.
I do find it useful to take to our monthly novel crit meetings because I can scrawl notes on the touch screen with the stylus (which, afterwards, I can barely read)instead of taking paper copies of everyone's chapters. The small screen and loss of manuscript page numbers makes it very hard to find the words the others are talking about, so a laptop would be the better reader. Unfortunately my laptop (Sony) no longer carries a battery, to keep it from setting the world alight, so I cannot use it.
One big advantage to reading electronic files is that it is possible to copy and paste passages that one wishes to send to others, without the need to scan or write them to file manually. This alone will surely secure the e-book's place in the education system.

Chris H.