Dr. Barrett Mosbacker, Publisher
The title is a bit tongue in cheek but I want to update you on a major trend that I believe will have a significant impact on our schools—the rapid development, growth, and acceptance of e-publishing and e-book readers. The textbook and library as we know them may disappear or at minimum be radically transformed.
A few months ago I wrote Welcome to the Library. Say Goodbye to the Books:
Things are changing! For many years e-books have resided in the back waters of publishing. Early adopters and gadget freaks have read them but the vast majority of the population were either unaware of them or didn’t care. The lowly status of the e-book may be about to change—and radically.
Consider the latest developments:
The US Kindle Catalog is has surpassed 400,000 Books. On Saturday (Dec. 26) Amazon issued a press release announcing that on Christmas Day, for the first time ever, customers purchased more Kindle books than physical books." That’s exciting and seemingly newsworthy, although it is natural that this would have happened with hundreds of thousands of new Kindle owners opening their Kindles and finding nothing to read on them but a snappy welcome letter from Jeff Bezos. But that’s not to say it is not a big deal.
It is the latest in a steady flow of data points suggesting not only that Amazon is dominating both the hardware and content markets of the e-book sector but also that the e-book revolution itself is moving with stunning alacrity from its inflection point this past September to a tipping point that should occur, at the latest, in 2014.
In a separate article, Mr. Bezos, CEO of Amazon makes this statement (emphasis added):
Our vision for Kindle is to have every book ever printed, in every language, available in 60 seconds from anywhere on earth. We have worked with publishers to get the most popular books you want to read. The Kindle Store currently has more than 390,000 titles and we are adding more every day. Whether you prefer biographies, classics, investment guides, thrillers, or sci-fi, thousands of your favorite books are available. The Kindle Store offers 101 of 112 books currently found on the New York Times® Best Seller list. New York Times Best Sellers and most new releases are $9.99, and you’ll find many books for less.
In yet another news story:
Amazon.com said Monday that its Kindle e-reader has become the most gifted item in the company’s history…The online retail giant also noted that its customers purchased more Kindle e-books than physical books on Christmas Day — a first for the company. However, not everyone buying e-books from Amazon this holiday season will be reading them on dedicated Kindle devices.
Amazon has unleashed a Kindle app for the iPhone and iPod touch that users in 60 countries can download from Apple’s App Store. Moreover, in November the online retailer released a free Kindle for PC application that enables customers to read Kindle books on notebooks PCs….The new strategy makes sense in light of Forrester’s projection that e-book sales will top $500 million in 2010. "This is still small compared to the overall book market, but it’s growing quickly," Rotman Epps observed.
The potential for selling content that’s never been consumed digitally before is huge and helps to explain why Barnes & Noble recently launched its nook e-reader at the aggressive price of $259, Rotman Epps noted. Barnes & Noble’s long-term strategy is "to profit not so much off device sales as off of e-book content sales," she explained.
My Personal Experience
I confess, I am now the proud owner of a Kindle 2. My wonderful wife, with wise advice from my daughters, bought me the Kindle 2 Global Edition for Christmas. Below is a picture of my Kindle on my desk in my study with full bookshelves in the background.
After using it now for several weeks, here is my take on it; it is fantastic and not because I like technology. Simply put, it is better than a physical book. Here are some of the reasons why I like the Kindle better than traditional books.