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Ebooks Now Outselling Print Books At Amazon

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the trees-everywhere-celebrate dept.

Books 207

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from CNN: "As further proof of how digital media dominate today's entertainment, Amazon announced Thursday that its customers now buy more e-books for its Kindle device than all print books — hardcover and paperback — combined. Given that people seem to spend more and more of their time peering at glowing electronic screens, this was probably bound to happen. Still, the swiftness of this sea change — three-and-a-half years after the Kindle hit the market — appeared to catch even Amazon by surprise. 'Customers are now choosing Kindle books more often than print books. We had high hopes that this would happen eventually, but we never imagined it would happen this quickly — we've been selling print books for 15 years and Kindle books for less than four years,' said Jeff Bezos, Amazon's CEO, in a statement."

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Used Book Prices Are Plummeting (5, Interesting)

crow_t_robot (528562) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191056)

I bought a Kindle but now I find myself exclusively buying used paper because it's waaayy cheaper (many books below $1, some $.01) and I can take the used book to the bookstore and get turn-in value which I can use to buy more books.

Re:Used Book Prices Are Plummeting (2)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191154)

I bought a Kindle but now I find myself exclusively buying used paper because it's waaayy cheaper (many books below $1, some $.01) and I can take the used book to the bookstore and get turn-in value which I can use to buy more books.

I've been going to the library less-often because of this. £0.01 + £1.80 (or whatever it is) postage is worth the convenience (my local library is in the same building as my local supermarket, but I'm not often in the mood for browsing books when I'm about to buy vegetables).

Also, I tend to take several months to read a book. I'm currently part-way through five books. I will donate them to charity when I'm done with them.

Re:Used Book Prices Are Plummeting (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36191300)

I'm currently part-way through five books.

I used to do that but I kept mixing up the content. For example, after reading all the books the concepts and information would mix together so I would think I learned about the "Quantum mating habits of hedge fund computers in C++" - I only read one book at a time now.

Re:Used Book Prices Are Plummeting (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191912)

I used to do that but I kept mixing up the content. For example, after reading all the books the concepts and information would mix together so I would think I learned about the "Quantum mating habits of hedge fund computers in C++" - I only read one book at a time now.

Well, an interesting subject. Note that it explains why the market collapsed: The quantum mating caused some serious entanglement, and someone then triggered observable behaviour in his C++ code.

Re:Used Book Prices Are Plummeting (3, Interesting)

Ferzerp (83619) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191334)

Kindle pricing was really nice prior to Apple getting involved and the resulting publisher price fixing.

Nothing like used, but it was much better than it is now. I'm not so sure that I would have gone that route if the pricing were as it stands currently.

Re:Used Book Prices Are Plummeting (1)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191418)

Apple is now getting in bed with Sony Music, among others, for streaming. Streaming music from Google and Amazon's cloud for no additional charge was nice too until Apple...

Detecting a pattern?

Re:Used Book Prices Are Plummeting (2)

BLKMGK (34057) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191510)

Yes exactly. As a result the number of pirated books has got to be skyrocketing. This is even worse than for music since books are so small it makes sense to download collections vs single books. Once I found eBooks costing more than paper I stopped buying them electronically. The fact that publishers actually tried to whine that printing presses cost lots of money as reason for high ELECTRONIC pricing just pissed me off to say the least. MacMillen's blog was a pretty amazing read, these people are so arrogant it's not even funny.

Re:Used Book Prices Are Plummeting (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191894)

And I'm sure that there are Internet hoarders out there that have managed to download 50GB of eBooks even though they don't read. You still have to buy a printing press if you want to sell a single paper book. The reality is, though, that authors will start bypassing publishers altogether, and will start to make a decent living from selling books really cheap.

Re:Used Book Prices Are Plummeting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36192376)

While there is some elasticity in the demand for books I'd say it is moderate. People only can read so much, at some point lower prices can't be replaced by more sales and the net market revenue will go down. I think the more important thing that self publishing will do is there will be more content and more content providers. On aggregate the pie will be a fair bit bigger but divided into many more pieces making the average book revenue go way down. Might still work out for the authors but will probably kill a lot of publishers/agents etc the rest of the industry. It would be like movies not needing sets, lighting, sound engineers etc, or at least in drastically reduced quantities. The actors might make more money but their would be a lot of the business that got wiped out in the process. Not everyone that works with books writes them and there are going to be a lot of people in the industry that won't be able to get their dream job.

Re:Used Book Prices Are Plummeting (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 3 years ago | (#36192088)

I like the Kindle a lot but indeed, e-books for the Kindle are way too expensive. I once bought an e-book from Amazon for 2 US$ more than the paper version, and found out that the figures were left out! There is absolutely no excuse for that. Never again will I buy an e-book from Amazon.

Re:Used Book Prices Are Plummeting (1)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 3 years ago | (#36192206)

Yes, we were better off with Amazon keeping a monopoly on eBooks.

Competition was going to come out of somewhere, one way or another. Had it not been iBooks, it would had been the Nook. But competition exists at many levels, and even if publishers lock their titles and no one else competes with those specific titles, authors are more and more deciding to just skip the publisher all-together and go directly to Amazon, resulting in cheaper eBooks that give the original author more money and a reason to write more to sell in that cheaper way.

The publishing industry is going to suffer big in the next few years, and they don't seem to be willing to adjust. They will die in less than a decade, and eBooks will be much cheaper. This once enough authors realize how much more they can earn by self-epublishing.

Re:Used Book Prices Are Plummeting (3, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191392)

Since I moved house, there are two charity shops within about 2 minutes walk that sell books for under 50p each. At this price, they're impulse purchases, and at least one of them usually has something that looks interesting (often they have sets of things, so I can pick up half a dozen books by the same author and have a couple of weeks worth of reading material). It's a fairly limited selection, but I find I prefer that (see 'the paradox of choice'), because filtering something the size of Amazon's range for things I might want to read is a huge task, and their recommendations are useless.

Re:Used Book Prices Are Plummeting (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191458)

Same here! Shipping can be a drag though.

I also note that many classics are free (on iTunes).

Re:Used Book Prices Are Plummeting (2)

crow_t_robot (528562) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191562)

I use project gutenberg for classics once I found out the free classics at some other places were edited/abridged for some unknown reason.

Also, you can wrangle a free Amazon Prime membership (free two-day shipping on purchases) by doing stuff like signing up (free) for at amazon.com/mom which is for expecting parents. Amazon gives you a free 6 month Prime membership to load up with.

Re:Used Book Prices Are Plummeting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36192200)

I have a Nook and can download eBooks out of my local library. The selection isn't great, but it's free and I don't have to remember to return the book when I'm done.

And Oh the Formats to Support! (4, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191070)

From the article:

Consumers wanting to read books electronically can now choose from many competing devices, including Sony's Reader, Barnes & Noble's Nook, and a variety of touchscreen tablets, including Apple's iPad.

They make it sound so easy and effortless! But they fail to address the matrix [wikipedia.org] of which service and format is support/authorized for which device. You can blame it on DRM or competitor lockout greed or whatever but it's still a major inhibitor in my mind.

Re:And Oh the Formats to Support! (5, Interesting)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191152)

they fail to address the matrix of which service and format is support/authorized for which device

Matrix, schmatrix.

Calibre [calibre-ebook.com] finds, downloads, converts, views, organizes, tweaks, and edits just about every kind of digital book from/into just about every format. And it's free.

Re:And Oh the Formats to Support! (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191200)

A different word than 'convert' is required. Calibre doesn't convert anything, it smashes text from one format to another, giving clueless users the impression that no information was discarded in the process.

Then there is the fiasco that is the "database".

Re:And Oh the Formats to Support! (1)

maeka (518272) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191252)

Go on...

Re:And Oh the Formats to Support! (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191790)

Please explain to a clueless user just what it is that I'm losing. The books appear to work equally well in ePub or Mobipocket, regardless of which was the original format. As for the back end, why would that matter to the end user? Genuinely curious.

Re:And Oh the Formats to Support! (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191904)

So take your mobi and convert it to epub and then decide that you don't need any mobi formatted books anymore (sounds clueless right?). Now convert the epub to a third format, things start to go sideways. The problem is that people don't realize that the conversions are mappings that Kovid happened to think were sufficient at some point in time, they are various levels of incomplete and dirty.

As far as the backend, sure, end users that are happy with it won't have any problems with it, end users that don't like it don't have any choice but to not use it. The part that frustrates me is that the program insists that using the metadata for searching and viewing is far better than using a file manager to browse, but it also insists on a strict directory structure (which is obtained from the metadata........).

Basically, I don't like the way it is setup to do things and it is impossible to change, so it doesn't work for me. That doesn't mean I am unable to recognize that it is great for lots of people.

Re:And Oh the Formats to Support! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36191992)

He doesn't know, he happens to be talking out of his "lower back."

Re:And Oh the Formats to Support! (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#36192062)

A different word than 'convert' is required.

Why?

Calibre doesn't convert anything, it smashes text from one format to another,

Which is exactly the definition of "convert" (except that it certainly isn't restricted to text)

giving clueless users the impression that no information was discarded in the process.

Today I would expect the opposite: That clueless users (who are used to converting music and movies between lossy formats) think that every time something is converted there is some loss (while there certainly exist lossless conversions).

Indeed, with text at least the most important part (the text itself) is perfectly preserved in all conversions (well, unless it also involves character set conversions, in which case some characters may get lost).

Re:And Oh the Formats to Support! (1)

pvera (250260) | more than 3 years ago | (#36192364)

Not only that, but it is multi-platform. I have used both the OSX and Windows versions extensively and both are very nice. I doubt the Linux version is any different than these two.

It is a great app, the developer is very active (some say to a fault) and he doesn't blast you with donation begging screens every other click. It is also very simple to use, of the half-dozen Kindle users I know that also use Calibre none yet has complained about it.

Re:And Oh the Formats to Support! (2)

Inner_Child (946194) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191394)

If the recent rumours [goodereader.com] turn out to be accurate, that matrix is simplified considerably, as epub would become the single most-supported "modern" format. Amazon's recently partnered with OverDrive, who do library e-book lending. OverDrive deals in audiobooks (mp3, wma) and ebooks (epub and pdf). It seems unlikely to me that Amazon would enter into an agreement with an entity that carries next to nothing that is readable on the Kindle.

Re:And Oh the Formats to Support! (1)

ynp7 (1786468) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191594)

So it seems unlikely to you that Amazon would allow publishers to provide ebooks to OverDrive in Kindle-compatible MobiPocket format? Perhaps you should think that through a few more times.

Re:And Oh the Formats to Support! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36191798)

On the flipside, Amazon might have enough power to push them to their format. Which I would regret, I think the Kindle being able to read epub might just push me in buying one for my next ebook-reader - my current Sony PRS 505 without WLAN is getting old.

Re:And Oh the Formats to Support! (2)

kieran (20691) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191400)

I just made a decision on what format I was happiest with, and the rest came from there. Having decided that ePub would be best for books and PDF for magazines/other stuff, I also chose to specify that both must be unencrypted and looked for a store that sold them in the UK and a device that would read both.

WHSmith sells ePub books, but they're encrypted: so I buy them there and decrypt them myself, and keep them backed up on my PC and online. I went with the Sony Reader PRS-350 as the reader, and have been pretty happy with it. When I eventually replace it, I'll probably just be looking for something else that can read unencrypted epub abd pdf files.

Re:And Oh the Formats to Support! (1)

SilentChasm (998689) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191736)

Same thing happened for me. I wanted something that read ePub books well and the PRS-350 fits that. It works quite well with calibre.

It's funny about the DRM though. I haven't put a DRM'd book on it ever, but I've purchased more books for it than I have for the last few years of physical books. You don't need piracy when it's easy. You just have to make sure you crack the encryption so you can always read it in the future (or at least until ePub files stop working, instead of when the authentication servers go down if it was still encrypted).

Note: The purchase was before Sony got even more evil with their PSN stuff.

Re:And Oh the Formats to Support! (1)

myotheridislower (2144830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191434)

That's eventually not going to be relevant. Operating on the assumption that all DRM is eventually cracked, ebooks can't stay locked down for long. So once they eclipse paper books for the average person they'll be widespread on torrent sites in DRM free versions, and all for free. The transition phase will be a little rough, but only if you insist on being an early adopter and want free ebooks. I'll probably get an ebook reader one day, but not until the free selection is as wide as digital music downloads on torrent sites are today.

Now, average readers won't know how to crack DRM or download books for free, but that's ok because them paying for books will subsidize us being able to read for free. And you can always do your part and spread the word to as many needy people as possible. And there's always the library.

The future is actually quite bright for readers and ebooks :)

Re:And Oh the Formats to Support! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36191516)

No Amazon, your DRM is already cracked.

(by which I mean that I have seen your scenario already occuring.)

don't forget screen readers they must work any boo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36192224)

don't forget screen readers they must work with any ebook.

What about free books? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36191110)

Are they counting in free books on this? Roughly 70% of all my Kindle books are free books. Classics that I'm too cheap to pick up for $5 from Borders... And out of the other 30% about half of those were just a few dollars or less.

free and used books (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191324)

Are they counting in free books on this? Roughly 70% of all my Kindle books are free books. Classics that I'm too cheap to pick up for $5 from Borders... And out of the other 30% about half of those were just a few dollars or less.

Exactly it said more units were sold not more dollars.. Cheap books are being sold for cheap or free to pump up the numbers. Additionally the "sales" figures are for amazon not the book market as a whole. You buy kindle books from Amazon so it focuses the demand and is not representative.

Also I wonder if they are including "new" books or "used" books in that comparison. The used book market is not insignificant but there are no used kindle books.

Re: free and used books (1)

ynp7 (1786468) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191614)

"Free Kindle books are excluded and if included would make the number even higher."

Try those reading skills again, Nancy.

Re: free and used books (1)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191968)

I was assuming that even though the units "sold" outnumber the paper books, the numbers are skewed because people who download eBooks are probably downloading more than they actually read. I guess it matters little to Amazon, however; a sale is still a sale.

That said, I'm honestly surprised that audio books haven't become a dominant force in this market.

When it comes to reading, I read plenty, it's just that it's very rarely for entertainment. If the time comes where I'd like to "read a book", I much prefer audio books so I can give my eyes a rest, listen when reading is not possible, and enjoy the extra dimension brought when a talented voice actor reads the book.

Re:What about free books? (5, Informative)

perlwhiz (451770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191502)

From the Amazon press release:
"Free Kindle books are excluded and if included would make the number even higher."

Re:What about free books? (1)

bWareiWare.co.uk (660144) | more than 3 years ago | (#36192120)

But they are only counting new books sold by Amazon, not the larger number of second hand books sold via Amazon.

Re:What about free books? (1)

Snorklefish (639711) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191522)

Absolutely agree. If I were representative of most consumers... Amazon would be reporting that E-books outsold hardcopy by several thousand percent... though the only revenue it was receiving was from hard-copy orders. Amazon's 'revelation' is simply marketing fudge.

Does this include used books? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36191114)

Ive read these figures Amazon puts out, but they never clarify if ebooks are outselling used books as well. I would be willing to bet that Amazon sells many more used books through their marketplace than they sell ebooks. My guess is ebooks are just outselling new books which is a much smaller market. If anybody has more insight on this I would be quite interested.

Re:Does this include used books? (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191304)

The whole statistic is misleading and self-serving. Amazon WANTS you to get your reading materials delivered electronically because they make the most profit margin when you buy an e-something.

They're leading the world in terms of complete electronic distribution of materials that favor THEM. So, of course they're starting to sell a majority of e-stuff rather than paper equivalents. The number doesn't mean that the rest of the world is doing this.

If used materials were contributing to the number, they would have mentioned those-- but used e-stuff cuts their margin per SKU delivered to nearly nothing. Selling used e-stuff is their worst nightmare, and publishers aren't happy about it as they make no money, either. Library, sharing, and other methods/myths of content 'ownership' are to be disparaged.

Thank you for 1-Clicking Today!

Too bad they.... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191158)

....Hate ipad users.

I'd subscribe to several of the magazines if they would let me through the ipad app... Instead B&N nook get's my cash.

Re:Too bad they.... (1)

Gr33nJ3ll0 (1367543) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191344)

It's not the iPad, it's the LICENSE!

Free ebooks for everyone! (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191170)

http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page [gutenberg.org]
Get your free ebooks here! No need to enrich Amazon and Apple if you don't want to.

Re:Free ebooks for everyone! (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191496)

Sometimes people want to read something written more recently than 60-90 years ago.

Re:Free ebooks for everyone! (2)

ynp7 (1786468) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191638)

Awesome! Just gotta wait an eternity for 2011 new releases to be on there. Hopefully Congress will allow their copyrights to expire by forever.

Gutenberg has a limit (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191774)

At some point, the supply of books in Gutenberg will stop increasing. Every 20 years, the United States Congress enacts a 20-year extension to the term of copyright. The Copyright Act of 1976 went into effect in 1978, and the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act went into effect in 1998. So once all notable books in the English language published between 1600 and 1922 are in Gutenberg, where should Gutenberg go from there? You might claim that there are enough pre-1923 books that a human, and for this reason one shouldn't need any copyrighted books, but I suspect a lot of people will disagree with that. For example, pre-1923 books don't talk about post-1923 inventions.

Re:Gutenberg has a limit (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191924)

Amazon is currently only selling books that were published in 2011 or before.

(This may seem rather obvious and pointless to say, but perhaps that itself is the point)

Re:Gutenberg has a limit (1)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 3 years ago | (#36192344)

Use Gutenberg from a different country, such as Australia [gutenberg.net.au] .

Re:Gutenberg has a limit (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36192408)

Use Gutenberg from a different country, such as Australia

Downloading post-1923 works from PG Australia or PG Canada in the United States is copyright infringement, as far as I can tell. Or were you referring to emigration from the United States to Australia?

eBook Nightmares (2)

GTRacer (234395) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191178)

I think I'm really afraid for what the ebook revolution is going to mean for readers like me. Nevermind the ownership of digital media (and what that really means these days).

My problem is what less printed material means for libraries, which is where I get almost all my print and audiobooks these days. Sure, they have Overdrive for electronic checkout of e-media. But the selection my library currently offers stinks, and the number of copies is limited!

I hope in 10 years I can still get a nice fantasy romance to enjoy, or take my daughter for a readalong...

Re:eBook Nightmares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36191744)

If your library system is anything like mine, ebooks are probably the only way they can go since libraries seem to experience cuts in funding more often than anything else.

Re:eBook Nightmares (1)

blindbat (189141) | more than 3 years ago | (#36192106)

Print on demand is so cheap and allows printing of single copies. You will still be able to get paper versions of books for a long time. (I have several books in paper, epub, and kindle.)

At least they don't region block paper editions. (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191182)

I hate it when I find that I have to order the print edition and wait a month for it to arrive because the Kindle version is region blocked. (OTOH I wouldn't but any Kindle books if I couldn't strip the DRM off and convert them to EPUB because I don't own a Kindle.)

Re:At least they don't region block paper editions (1)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191596)

They do region block paper editions, or at least try. There's efforts by the publishers to make it illegal to import books from other countries if the publisher hasn't released them in your country yet. The "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" series is a great example of this. If you wanted to be ahead of the curve, you got a friend to bring back "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" when they were in England, before it was available in the States.

Re:At least they don't region block paper editions (1)

damaki (997243) | more than 3 years ago | (#36192240)

Similar yet different issue with Janet Evanovitch novels, the Stephanie Plum series. Even more stupid: I can buy the first, second and third book, 12th too, from France but, god forbids, not the fourth, fifth and so on up to 11. Region lock crazyness in all its splendor.

Could that be a lie? Or, is Amazon not doing well? (2)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191188)

Could Amazon, by making the statement that e-books are selling better than paper books, be using marketing dishonesty to promote e-books?

Or, is Amazon's statement an indication that Amazon is no longer the preferred place to buy paper books? Since Amazon started, there have been many, many other bookstores that have started to sell online.

A paper book last forever. An e-book lasts until an electronic reader fails, and readers that use that format are no longer available. A paper book can be read by anyone. An e-book can be read only by people who have the kind of reader for which the book is meant.

In the Oxford University library in England, I found books in the old books room that were published in the 1600s. The persistence of paper books is an enormous benefit to all humankind.

Re:Could that be a lie? Or, is Amazon not doing we (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36191244)

Enormous benefit? So what were all those 1600s books about?

The old books are actually what people wrote. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191310)

The books said an enormous amount about how people thought and lived in the 1600s. History books are only summaries. The old books are actually what people wrote.

Re:The old books are actually what people wrote. (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191814)

And ideally, people would be able to read copies of those books on Kindle or other reader devices just as easily as the Bible and the scripts for Shakespeare's plays. Has Oxford refused to let Gutenberg scan these books?

Re:Could that be a lie? Or, is Amazon not doing we (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36191312)

It's deliberately misleading. Most people around the world do not order their pulp books from Amazon US, but due to the limited international kindle markets, many of ebooks sold through the US site are not for the US market. I.e. they're comparing USA paper book sales to global ebook sales.

Re:Could that be a lie? Or, is Amazon not doing we (1)

ynp7 (1786468) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191676)

Finally, a good point about these figures. Too bad you had to waste it by posting AC.

Re:Could that be a lie? Or, is Amazon not doing we (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191422)

no, i see A LOT of kindles on the NYC subway. at least as much as paper book readers if not more. then there is my ipad 2 and other tablets. i can carry thousands of books on my ipad 2 and they won't clutter up my apartment either. in fact i'm going to try to start getting rid of some of my paper books because there are ipad versions of the media. in the case of cookbooks there are whole apps with video and detailed instructions that are easier to use than a book

Re:Could that be a lie? Or, is Amazon not doing we (1)

skaffen42 (579313) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191464)

OK, so this is anecdotal, and we all know the plural of anecdote is not data...

I buy lots of books, and I can barely remember the last time I bought a book from a source other than Amazon. Even the used books I buy I get through Amazon's marketplace. About 2 months ago I finally broke down and bought a Kindle. I bought it to use on my commute, with the idea that I'd finally get around to reading all the classics (which are free), but would rather buy paper books for anything else.

Two months later I have been completely converted to the Kindle. I now don't even bother looking at books that I can't buy on the Kindle. It kind of sucks, as a lot of publishers charge a premium on Kindle books (how the hell do they justify that???), and other books simply are not available. But the convenience of reading on a Kindle trumps the disadvantages for me.

So for me at least, buying paper books is now a last resort.

Excellent libraries made the U.S. strong. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191560)

Many people who read a large number of books get them from a library.

Unfortunately, sometimes digital books are arranged that they cannot be loaned by libraries.

Re:Excellent libraries made the U.S. strong. (1)

damaki (997243) | more than 3 years ago | (#36192050)

You will soon be wrong: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/technologylive/post/2011/04/amazon-to-launch-library-lending-for-kindle-books/1 [usatoday.com]
I don't know if an american equivalent exists but there are several yearly subscription options on this website: http://librairie.immateriel.fr/ [immateriel.fr] (sorry, it's french). It's probably not the only one of its kind.

Re:Could that be a lie? Or, is Amazon not doing we (5, Insightful)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191722)

Two months later I have been completely converted to the Kindle. I now don't even bother looking at books that I can't buy on the Kindle. It kind of sucks, as a lot of publishers charge a premium on Kindle books (how the hell do they justify that???), and other books simply are not available. But the convenience of reading on a Kindle trumps the disadvantages for me.

Q: How the hell do they justify that???
A: But the convenience of reading on a Kindle trumps the disadvantages for me

If the convenience was worth less to you than the price difference, you'd buy the paper version.

Re:Could that be a lie? Or, is Amazon not doing we (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191896)

how the hell do they justify that???

You're buying only Kindle books, and paying the premium. That's how they justify that. Any other questions?

Re:Could that be a lie? Or, is Amazon not doing we (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 3 years ago | (#36192320)

> publishers charge a premium on Kindle books (how the hell do they justify that???)

First, consider maybe they're not charging a premium, but book sellers are trying to shift very old stock at a loss, in an attempt to recoup any of their investment.

Secondly, in the UK e-books attract sales tax (VAT), which paper books do not; this is a lot of what pushes UK e-book prices over paper editions, but it does depend on whether you're including that in the cost.

Thirdly, they're taking a risk (or, were) that the cost of converting a book to e-book format will pay off.

Re:Could that be a lie? Or, is Amazon not doing we (2)

BlackCreek (1004083) | more than 3 years ago | (#36192410)

Two months later I have been completely converted to the Kindle. I now don't even bother looking at books that I can't buy on the Kindle. It kind of sucks, as a lot of publishers charge a premium on Kindle books (how the hell do they justify that???), and other books simply are not available. But the convenience of reading on a Kindle trumps the disadvantages for me.

Same here.

So for me at least, buying paper books is now a last resort.

The only print books I consider buying are professional books I need for work and can't get on the Kindle.

What I really find amazing is the Slashdot vitriol on e-books. I really get the impression that is all just a bunch of young people who:
-- don't own loads of books;
-- who never had to move said loads of books to another house/flat;
-- who never thought out the costs of having all that paper stored in a shelve.
-- have eagle eyes and don't care about small & crappy fonts

Not to mention the convenience of getting new books while travelling.

Re:Could that be a lie? Or, is Amazon not doing we (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36191534)

Could Amazon, by making the statement that e-books are selling better than paper books, be using marketing dishonesty to promote e-books? Or, is Amazon's statement an indication that Amazon is no longer the preferred place to buy paper books? Since Amazon started, there have been many, many other bookstores that have started to sell online. A paper book last forever. An e-book lasts until an electronic reader fails, and readers that use that format are no longer available. A paper book can be read by anyone. An e-book can be read only by people who have the kind of reader for which the book is meant. In the Oxford University library in England, I found books in the old books room that were published in the 1600s. The persistence of paper books is an enormous benefit to all humankind.

I have no doubth this is true, having gone through the change from loving paper books to going digital myself (and buying more books than ever), and seen the same with friends.

I've gone through the same change in my view on and usage of paper books --> ebooks as I some years ago went through regarding music CDs --> digital music. I really lliked having a physical CD collection, that was mine, could be touched, looked at, lended and sold. It was what I was used to, and how things were suppose to be :) digital with all its possible issues could never replace that. I don't think that anymore. Now I love to have it digital only and wouldn't have it any other way (actually, about the only thing I use for music these days is Spotify, which is another transition, now my music files collection is gathering imaginary dust).

On books I'm halfway through same transition. I've loved everything about paper books, and proclaimed nothing could beat that. But I got a Kindle for present, and do increasingly love how convenient it is, how fast and easy I can get a new book if I want to read (do not have to wait for shipping or even shops to open next day), good for travel (smaller and lighter than any one book, can contain many), etc. And Kindle autosyncing the books I'm reading, including exactly where I left off in the text, to my phone as well is just damn convenient sometimes.

When I say half through - I still have bookshelves, with lots of books, and do buy paper books sometimes. But this I did with my music collection as well, now it is gathering dust in a box in the cellar. I can easily see the same thing happening.

Maybe something is lost. But something is definitely won too.

Re:Could that be a lie? Or, is Amazon not doing we (1)

Awkward Engineer (2178204) | more than 3 years ago | (#36192084)

True story about the paper books. We have old engineering drawings on microfilm here at work. They're about 50 years old, but it's FILM. you shine some light through it, and there your image is. We don't have any CAD files from 10 years ago, that's for sure. Also, they didn't say anything in the article if the sales calculations were by units, or by cost. - www.awkwardengineer.com [awkwardengineer.com]

Re:Could that be a lie? Or, is Amazon not doing we (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36192140)

An e-book lasts until an electronic reader fails, and readers that use that format are no longer available.

No, they'll just be converted to the newer formats. ePub is just XHTML plus a couple of XML formats. Converting it is easy.

In the Oxford University library in England, I found books in the old books room that were published in the 1600s.

That's really useful to people who are thousands of miles from there. Besides, Oxford is building their own digital library.

How many of these are $0.99 version of PD books? (1)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191208)

Which people could instead be getting directly from Project Gutenberg or Archive.org?

Amazon would've done everyone a service if they'd up-front batch converted _everything_ in PG's archives and made it available at $0.98 and then sent the royalties on to PG --- their catalog would be much nicer and cleaner, not cluttered w/ umpteen different but identical versions of public domain texts.

William
(who has had a hardware ebook reader for years and is still catching up on his classics reading and hasn't bought any books)

The books might not be PD (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191952)

Some books with the same text as a PG book might have original illustrations. Other books might be translations or "retellings" (condensed versions).

Says more about Amazon than about Ebooks (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191260)

Until today, I have never seen anyone read from a tablet, ever... but I see people read regular paper books and newspapers on trains/buses every day.

Re:Says more about Amazon than about Ebooks (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191436)

Are you serious? I had to fly a couple of weeks ago and walking around the gate area I would there were roughly twice as many people reading from an electronic device (mostly Kindles and iPads) as were reading from paper. If I stop at a coffee shop on my way to work, there are always a few people reading from a Kindle. Come to think of it, I haven't seen anybody reading a newspaper at my local coffee shop for quite some time now.

I'm not saying paper is dead, but I do think ebooks are now firmly established as a mainstream way to read.

Re:Says more about Amazon than about Ebooks (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#36192238)

I suppose it depends on which area you live in.

In the DC metro 6 years ago, I felt all alone reading from plucker on my PalmTX on a crowded train... everyone else just read their papers / books while maybe listening to their iPods. 3 years ago, more people were on their Blackberries, in addition to papers / books and the occasional iPhone. Nowadays I haven't been commuting on the metro, but when I do, I occasionally see a few more smartphones and maybe the occasional kindle out. But I kinda expect the DC area to be late adopters in matters both technological and fashionable.

Area airports seem to be about the same way. I don't go to coffee shops and bookstores much, but they still seem to be mostly laptops / netbooks and maybe the occasional smartphone... I find it kinda annoying when trying to actually get a table to enjoy a quick drink, and wish someone would make some sort of wifi park / lobby for that kind of thing.

Re:Says more about Amazon than about Ebooks (1)

ynp7 (1786468) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191690)

I never see people using tablets, but there are Kindles all over the fucking place here. Usually at least 2-3 people on a bus will be using one.

Re:Says more about Amazon than about Ebooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36191906)

Welcome back. How was life in the 20th century? What other differences have you noticed?

Re:Says more about Amazon than about Ebooks (1)

AJH16 (940784) | more than 3 years ago | (#36192124)

I would never want to read from a tablet, but I'm starting to see a pretty high number of e-ink devices popping up around me. (Personally, I am an extremely early adopter of e-ink. Followed the tech from it's first announcement and purchased the first Sony e-Reader that had the technology.) I've always felt that e-ink is the future of e-books and don't really expect tablets to have much staying power for e-book reading as they never caught on despite the availability of similar devices for decades. (Emitted light displays simply are not conducive to reading for long periods of time. Too much eye strain.)

peering at glowing electronic screens (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191268)

"peering at glowing electronic screens" I hope not. I hope they are using more merciful e-ink devices like Kindle. Wait, is there other way to read Amazon books? What is exactly "glowing" then?

Re:peering at glowing electronic screens (1)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191484)

You can get the Kindle app on iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, WP7, and PC/Mac.

Automatic synchronization across all platforms. Read a hundred pages on your Android and automatically pick up at the furthest read spot when you turn on your Kindle.

Re:peering at glowing electronic screens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36191576)

The screen is key in this I think. The Kindle is easy to read. Though it is black and white in a world where people seem to expect color, it has seen great success. Why?
I think it is due to the fact that it is not a "glowing screen" but completely reflective. It responds to ambient light in identical manner to a printed page so it is restful to both our eyes and our brain. It behaves as we have come to expect our reading material to behave.

Re:peering at glowing electronic screens (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191604)

Umm, Amazon has a Kindle app for Apple iDevices and, I would presume, Android devices.

Luckily (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36191276)

Their device will take the plundered booty just at well as the bloated one.

*Shrugs* (2)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191332)

Not about glowing screens.

I had over a thousands books in a personal library. Between moving to college, moving out, moving again, they were getting destroyed or left in my basement in totes all around the house where they once were proudly on my personal book shelf. I have some in the garage sitting for about two years now.

Kindle was the first time the medium felt satisfactory. I have a kindle and an iPad to get around the Matrix, but combined I am set for my book needs. No more replacing worn out books. No more complaints about having a house filled with heavy paper. Almost all my books donated to a fundraiser book sale for disabled people through arm twisting. Now I have two devices I can fit in my coat pocket that hold what once filled entire rooms.

I'll miss my books, but there is a time for practicality. My personal library was only created because my local one was a small rural thing that had to cater to the main s tream tastes of the area. The inter-library loan system, last I used it, took over a year to get the book I wanted to read.

Short on features... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36191336)

Explain to me how you swat a fly or, in an emergency situation, rip out a page to start a fire with an E-reader?

Re:Short on features... (2)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191444)

Explain to me how you swat a fly or, in an emergency situation, rip out a page to start a fire with an E-reader?

Fine, then explain to me how you can use a papaerback book to send an email [amazon.co.uk] requesting emergency help when your phone is lost, stolen or run down!

Re:Short on features... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36191612)

If you're in the back country in a life-and-death emergency situation you should have magnesium on you :).

Re:Short on features... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36191778)

A little Thermite and the battery from a Kindle and you're good to go boom!

Re:Short on features... (2)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#36192298)

Explain to me how you swat a fly or, in an emergency situation, rip out a page to start a fire with an E-reader?

1: turn off the lights, flies will be attracted to the warm E-reader glow (apparently the editor doesn't use an e-ink-based device). BAM!

2: Overdrive the LED flash on your smartphone, or simply short the lithium battery. FOOSH!

hymenology council; whore of babylon reveals past (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36191350)

where did they come from? like a spleen? do we need them? monkeys apparently did not.

the fake weather sucks again today. disarm. thanks again. fried fish friday, if nothing changes...

I cherish my paperbacks more than ever. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36191452)

I have collected over 600 paperbacks of a certain topic over the years. Many are duplicates. But I find myself reading them more these days more than ever. I use to laugh at science fiction stories that depicted the future of man, regressed to the level of a Democrat, (ok, I'll stay on topic), as dumb as crap because all knowledge was lost.

With E-books, that possibly is 100% believable, as without the reader and electricity, all knowledge is unobtainable. I think that is why I will always (as long as I can) buy my paperbacks and newspapers, and only when the world has lost those medias will I be forced to a new one.

Re:I cherish my paperbacks more than ever. (2)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191628)

The problem I have with such dystopic predictions is this:

Assuming

- grid electricity is gone
- tons of hardware that needs it is still lying around; okay some may be damaged or unusable (EMP blast), need to connect to servers, etc. but the majority of it WOULD be fully working (and most data-centers would be mostly intact, if not connected externally, even in the case of nuclear blast).

You're seriously telling me that NOT ONE PERSON knows how to, say, charge a set of AA's without using the national grid? That no-one has tiny solar chargers and radios? That no-one has a car battery and/or engine (fuel is another matter but with the engine components you can certainly make a generator from any rotational motion).

Hell, we were able to do things like that in the 17th/18th centuries with ZERO knowledge of electricity even existing as a source of energy or what it was at all. And you can read data off chips with an LED and a battery if need be - not fast, not fun, but similar things are done every day in the emulation ROM-recovery fields.

Hell, give me a couple of copper cables and a couple of household chemicals and I can charge a battery for you - it won't be pretty or efficient but it'll work. The Egyptians were doing it BC, for instance.

You could argue that the knowledge of electricity would be lost if enough people died but damn, you'd have more to worry about than reading Shakespeare if that's the case - food for a start would be something that if you didn't start sorting out in the first few days, and doing it well, would mean you'd have nothing to after a month or so (do you know how to farm wheat etc. on an scale big enough to feed your extended family year-round?).

Paperbacks are inherently more susceptible - solid state and magnetic storage is pretty damn hard to destroy on a national scale , but paper? It burns very nicely, thank you, and has done on nation-wide scales in the past. Not to mention the way it ages. Not to mention rotting. Not to mention fungus, water, staining, or even just plain old falling out of the binding.

Paper has advantages but has just as many disadvantages as electronics. And worrying about Shakespeare's sonnets at that moment would be pointless - for a start, your entire countries food and transport networks would be down. You'd be lucky to survive the month if you live in a crowded city.

Re:I cherish my paperbacks more than ever. (1)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191902)

Paperbacks are inherently more susceptible - solid state and magnetic storage is pretty damn hard to destroy on a national scale , but paper? It burns very nicely, thank you, and has done on nation-wide scales in the past

Huh? When has an entire country burned down? Did Liechtenstein suddenly catch on fire one day?

True cos book publishers are morons! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36191572)

I ordered a book from Amazon. They gave me an option to get both an electronic copy and a paper copy as a bundle at lower price. I chose this bundle since I can download the electronic copy right away and I always find it handy to have a paper copy.
The freaking paper copy of the book arrived 3.5 months after I placed the order. This is truly not acceptable and that is the reason I think paper book publishers themselves are the reason behind their own doom.

Bully for them (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191634)

I can't really justify spending $10 to $12 on a novel, especially when it's just going to eat up space at home. So my choices are a) do an inter-library loan which saves me money and clutter and does nothing for the author or b) buy the book for a buck.

I'm talking about the small press stuff here. If we're talking about a mainstream author, it really doesn't feel like my financial contribution matters for squat. I don't feel like I'm supporting a local business going to a McDonalds even if it's owned by a local franchisee. I go to a local diner, I feel like my contribution is more noticed. Same goes with the small press stuff. I listen to the Weird Things podcast and one of the hosts put out a novella on Kindle for a buck. I bought it. Hell, it's just like buying a candybar from a band kid, they get a donation and you still get something back. Win-win.

Publishing has little interest in small press and midlist authors. I'm really interested in seeing if the reduced overhead allows niche writers to flourish.

The kindle's screen doesn't glow (1)

igotmybfg (525391) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191640)

just saying...

I like ebooks, but... (1)

Xoltri (1052470) | more than 3 years ago | (#36192262)

I have kobo books and mobipoket installed on my Blackberry Torch and the convenience is amazing. If I'm waiting in line at the post office I can read a few pages of any number of books. I always have my phone but would never carry a seperate ebook reader or paper copy. I don't have the same aversion to a glowing screen as some people have. After all most of us stare at a computer screen all day and don't complain about it. However, ebooks are still WAY overpriced. As much as the convenience is higher for the ebooks, there are some serious disadvantages to most of them. DRM, lack of portability, inability to share etc. If the price would come down on ebooks I would buy a lot more of them. As it stands now I feel dirty paying the same amount for the ebook as I could for the paper copy and as a result I've only actually paid for two ebooks.
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