E-Readers – wave of the future?

E-Readers like Kindle and Nook are touted as the ‘next big thing’. After all, all the tech-savy cool kids have one, are you some kinda Luddite?

I can certainly see the benefit for travel or commuters. Dozens of books in a 1/2″ thick device is pretty efficient. And cool. But are they the wave of the future that will eventually save the trees and shut down the wretched paper mills all across the globe?

According to Jay Yarow’s BusinessInsider.com article of July 2010, Amazon trumpeted that Kindle sales had outpaced hardcover sales by roughly 50%. (100 HB to 150 E-books/month) Mr. Yarow says that sounds epic until you run the numbers. Given that Amazon only has an estimated 19% of the book market, it turns out to be less than 6% of the total print book market. FULL ARTICLE HERE

Since its appearance on Amazon in Mid-January, Running Black has sold 10 times more Kindle copies than trade paperbacks. Any sales are good, and that ratio is substantial, but does it indicate a trend toward e-readers? I doubt it.

Genre readers tend to be technophiles, so it makes sense a larger proportion would opt for reading a book in e-format. Also, it’s easier on the pocket to pick up a debut novel from an unknown for less than a third of the print version. After all, if it’s a flop, all you’re out is $4.99 as opposed to $16.99.

I’m convinced eformats have their place and will gain a larger market share, but I still think readers like browsing through books, smelling books, holding books, underlining phrases, dog-earing pages. They don’t get scratched if you bring ’em to the beach. You’re not out hundreds of $$$ if you forget it a paperback on the bus, and you can dry a book out if you spill coffee on it. Clay and wax tablets, papyrus, parchment, paper… Back to the scriptorium benches. Books are staying around.

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