- In July, Amazon announced that Kindle book sales had surpassed hardback book sales. Analysts pooh-poohed this milestone as paperback sales are far greater than hardback sales. But now Kindle book sales have overtaken paperback sales as well. Amazon is now selling more digital or ebooks in its bookstore now than physical print books. We’ve reached a turning point in the way people read books.
There is still a ways to go, however, for ereader owners are still buying print books and ereader ownership is still not mainstream. While the adoption of ereaders is spreading, even at an accelerating pace, a recent survey of book shoppers shows that only 21% own one. I don’t own one yet, though I hope to buy an Android tablet in the next year or so.
I’m not sure print books will ever go the way of the dodo. Print books will increasingly have collector value. Some people may still prefer reading them, if only out of nostalgia for a bygone era. There are ways to add value to a print book as well: high-quality production, handwritten signatures, personal notes, and so on.
- Mike Masnick of techdirt reported last month that, as he predicted, iPad digital magazine subscriber numbers are plummeting. The dropoff from initial subscriptions has been dramatic.
In a previous post I discussed Locus Magazine‘s move into digital editions. This is a welcome move and Amazon’s ebook sales bode well for Locus’ new ebook format (currently just in pdf but set to expand into epub and Kindle formats). At the time I argued that Locus needs to go further by developing a webapp and native apps for Android and iOS devices.
Masnick’s news would seem to bode ill for such a move but he thinks the reason these digital magazines are doing poorly on the iPad is that they try to faithfully recreate the print magazine structure, format, and experience in a digital medium. Clueless Rupert Murdoch’s new iPad-only The Daily being a case in point. There’s no reason why a magazine in a digital medium should be limited to what is possible in the traditional print medium. Magazine publishers need to be more creative and tailor their product to how people actually use mobile devices and the web. Still, niche products like Locus Magazine can get by without millions of subscribers, though that many would be nice.
- Brainz.org has a list of the Top 100 Blogs of 2010. The LewRockwell.com blog and the Mises Econ blog received recognition in the politics and economics categories. Whatever, the blog of science fiction author John Scalzi (Old Man’s War), made the list in the smart category. Head on over to the site to see the rest of the list and their selection method.