E-Books Starting to Take Off

I’m a big fan of my Kindle, so I’m not surprised that e-books are starting to take off. To use what will quickly become a tired analogy: Amazon has done for e-books what Apple did for e-music with iTunes. With Amazon and the Kindle, you have:

  • A online store to buy content
  • A wireless connection to that store (one-upping the iPod which still requires connecting to your computer)
  • An attractive price point (most e-books are $9.95)
  • And, of course, a quality device with high resolution, lots of storage, and good battery life

I’ll consider the adjustable font size (a big plus for my aging eyes) and the ability to buy single editions of international newspapers (e.g., Le Monde) gravy.

From The New York Times article:

“The perception is that e-books have been around for 10 years and haven’t done anything,” said Steve Haber, president of Sony’s digital reading division. “But it’s happening now. This is really starting to take off.”

On Kindle sales:

It is difficult to quantify the success of the Kindle, since Amazon will not disclose how many it has sold and analysts’ estimates vary widely. Peter Hildick-Smith, president of the Codex Group, a book market research company, said he believed Amazon had sold as many as 260,000 units through the beginning of October, before Ms. Winfrey’s endorsement. Others say the number could be as high as a million.

On the future:

“E-books will become the go-to-first format for an ever-expanding group of readers who are newly discovering how much they enjoy reading books on a screen,” said Markus Dohle, chief executive of Random House, the world’s largest publisher of consumer books.

While it’s easy to dispute the above point with the case of a specific book (e.g,. my daughter is going to read Twilight whether it’s on the Kindle or not) but in more generic cases Kindle-availability will drive the purchase.

Thus far, in three cases I have first decided that I wanted to read something on the Kindle and then only considered Kindle books for purchase (the categories were income taxes, search engine optimization, and an action novel).

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2 responses to “E-Books Starting to Take Off

  1. • We believe eBooks will be disruptive and grow exponentially over the next several years. Our estimate today is eBooks revenue in 2008 will be $50M, whereas paper books industry revenue for 2008 is $25B, so .002 of the industry, less than 1%. But paper industry is losing 5-10% revenue per year and eBooks are gaining in the 300-1000% range. Look at contentrealtime.com, fictionwise and bookonboard to name a few.We look the frictionless distribution of eBooks, our regular customers pay and download 10’s of books a week now, and they are saving 50% over hard paper copies, and it is all environmentally friendly!Some DRM here, but most are linked to a Microsoft reader or Adobe glassbook format, which makes them easy to consume but hard to “in error pass on”.the team at ContentRealtime.com

  2. We think eBooks will become one of many digital content categories that will “morph” into one category we call “contentertainment”. You won’t go and find a particular content, you will find a “topic” that you want content to entertainment you on, and websites (like ours at ContentRealtime.com) will present to you content that is downloadable across a wide variety of content categories, like eBooks, movies, music, games, etc.This industry disruption is happening even as we speak. iPod becomes iPhone becomes eBook reader becomes music player….Jim

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