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July 21, 2010

E-books, or not.

Tech stuff

The publishing world is in something of a tizzy because Amazon announced that its e-books are outselling hardcovers. There are two pieces of data I'd like to see before taking this with more than a grain of salt:

1. How do the numbers compare on the same titles? If people are buying a lot of 99 cent e-books, but still buying bestsellers in hardcover, that's important to note.
2. And how do they compare to paperbacks? The fact that only hardcovers are included here suggests that they're using the numbers they need for a more sensational headline.
So I'm not ready to proclaim the death of print just yet. But I wanted to say a little about my own experience. I've been doing a lot with the iPad - using it for Twitter, Web browsing, to do lists, crosswords, games, weather forecasts, news, music, and more. But what I haven't really done on it is read e-books. I downloaded iBook, Apple's free e-book app. It came with Winnie the Pooh, and I downloaded The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, which is public domain and therefore free. I've looked at them both, to see how things work, but I haven't really read either. And it wasn't a conscious decision - I didn't decide I wasn't going to switch to e-books or anything. I just . . . haven't bothered. I'll let you know if that changes.

Posted by Kat at July 21, 2010 11:00 AM

"The fact that only hardcovers are included here suggests that they're using the numbers they need for a more sensational headline."

I agree. Hardcover sales and paperback sales are apples and oranges. For successful books in almost any genre for almost any audience, hardcover sales are concentrated, but quick. The paperback format is where a book has its legs, and the backlist is where a publisher has its foundation.

Posted by: Emily at July 21, 2010 11:42 AM

I bought a Nook so clearly I'm reading ebooks. At the same time, I have continued to purchase (way too many) actual books. Until ebook prices drop there are many books I will continue to buy in print. I frequently visit my local used bookstore and can get many books there for $3, $4, $5 (I also buy used books online) while the ebook is still $10.

The reason I bought my Nook is that when I'm at school, at work, etc I often have time to read but it is a pain to carry around more than 1 book (I like to read more than 1 at a time) and this makes it much easier.

Anyway, I agree on wanting those two bits of information (especially about paperbacks). I think we are still a ways away from ebooks over taking print books.

Posted by: Kristina at July 21, 2010 01:12 PM
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