E-books Take the World by Storm

There is no denying the Kindle family and the rest of the e-book reader ilk have changed, if not reinvigorated, reading as a whole. Just look here, here and here –where bloggers and authors have pondered the future of these electronic devices and the impact they’ve had on publishing.

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) said e-book sales were up 160% in the first half of 2011 compared to 2010.  Not surprisingly, during the same period, the sales of paperbacks and hardcover books have declined.  GoodReads, a social network for readers calculated that the number of e-book readers is up 163% in 2011.

From this we can infer e-books are exponentially becoming the de facto reading tool with their ease of use and ability to store hundreds of publications in a variety of formats be they magazines, newspapers or paperbacks.

E-book readers have already revitalized an entire country’s interest in reading.  The freedom of literally having an entire bookstore in your hands is amazing.  If you hear something about a book, you just tap your iPad a couple of times, read a review, read the synopsis, buy it and start reading in a matter of minutes, if not seconds. Now if that isn’t music to a Gen Y’s ears, I don’t know what is.

Another measure to look at when checking the popularity of something is the secondary markets formed.  The e-reader and e-book knowledge base is growing exponentially.  Not only does Amazon’s Kindle site absolutely dominate when it comes to user experience, and filling a need, other sites have popped up to increase the e-book experience.

E-book Fling is an e-book exchange site loosely based on the Netflix model.  E-books (Kindle/Nook) have the ability to “lend” a book to someone for a 14-day period (much like you could hand someone a book you own). E-book Fling decided to make a marketplace based on this functionality.

People post their e-book library on the site, and others can borrow it for the two-week period for one “credit.”  One obtains a credit by either purchasing them, or lending a book to someone else.  This enticement to share makes the site more of a book exchange than a book rental site, which is a great concept.  The only thing lacking is a social aspect (profile) like GoodReads.

Amazon, the e-commerce site that revolutionized the e-book and e-reader market, is set to throw in its lot in the tablet race with rumors that it is developing its own e-reader. If, and when, that happens you can expect to see a more competitive and robust e-publishing industry. Tech Vibes blogger Knowlton Thomas explained that it makes more sense for Amazon to develop a tablet computer for the e-reader market than most of Apple’s iPad competitors:

“They have an established app store. They have an established online music store. They have an established e-book store. They have cloud technology. They already have one mobile device, their Kindle e-reader, which has been one of their all-time best selling products and a dominator in its market.”

Beyond Amazon’s possible foray into the tablet industry, there are countless more predictions for the market that are not only exciting but thought-provoking too.

Do you read eBooks?  Do you prefer old-fashioned paper books?  Let’s discuss in the comments.

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