This from Onenews
According to a new study from the Book Industry Study Group, a quarter of respondents have transitioned to using digital devices to read their favorite books or periodicals, bringing the U.S. adoption rate for ebooks to about 25 percent.
The Association of American Publishers reports that electronic books are the fastest-growing segment of the book-publishing industry. For the first two months of 2011, the use of ebooks grew 169 percent since a year ago.
Mark Coker is founder & CEO of Smashwords, a large distributor and publisher of independent ebook authors. He says electronic books now claim about ten percent of the total book market.
"A lot of the credit goes to Amazon...Barnes & Noble, and Apple for creating ebook-reading devices that make reading on screens more pleasurable than reading on paper," Coker notes. "Many of the earliest adopters of ebook-reading devices have been folks in my age range -- middle-age and up. As we get older, our eyes start to decline, and one of the most powerful features of ebooks is that you can click a button and increase the font size instantly."
Print books have declined some 25 percent this year because readers are finding ebooks to be more convenient. And the Smashwords founder contends electronic books also give unknown authors a greater opportunity to publish their work.
And from The Guardian UK:
The publication of The Waste Land app, marks the end of the beginning. After a decade of panic about the future, it signals a rapprochement between print and digital culture. This new coexistence is supported by the figures. The average UK shopper now spends £4 per month on eBooks. For Random House USA, some 30% of its sales now come from ebooks. After a perfect storm of economic, technological and cultural change from 2000 to 2010, publishers can detect a silver lining.
Look to see this trend accelerating a change in reading habits unprecedented since Caxton. Publishers, literary agents, booksellers and writers are all puzzling over the impact. John B Thompson, author of Merchants of Culture, says: "Truthfully, no one knows what the future holds."
"Goodbye Gutenberg" made a nice headline, but, as ebook sales surge in the US, thoughtful observers have begun to detect a future for the traditional book. David Campbell, publisher of Everyman, says: "The well-produced hardback, a clear and permanent contrast to the ebook, will fare better than cheap paperbacks printed on newsprint."
One book trade Jeremiah, Jason Epstein, retired chief editor of Random House, identifies a parallel future for old and new book media. "My own guess," he writes in the New York Review of Books, "is that the digital future in which anyone can become a published writer will separate along the usual two paths."
Epstein applies a twin track to future business models. "Some publishers may experiment by setting up their own freestanding digital start-ups," he says. His hunch, illustrated by the Waste Land app, which is co-published by Faber and Touch Press, is that "a separate, self-financed, digital industry will coexist with many functions of the traditional firms as the logic and the economies of digital technology increasingly assert themselves".
This coexistence of the old and new worlds of paper and screen is supported by Umberto Eco, who declares that "the book is like the spoon, the hammer, the wheel. Once invented, it cannot be improved." In This is Not the End of the Book, he writes: "The internet has returned us to the alphabet. The computer returns us to Gutenberg's galaxy; from now on everyone has to read. In order to read, you need a medium."
As previously reported the seven Harry Potter novels will be available as ebooks in October, author J.K. Rowling said this week at the launch of a new interactive online website that will allow readers to navigate through the wizard stories. Rowling gave her clearest indication yet that she would not write an eighth Harry Potter story to follow the final installment published in 2007 by Bloomsbury in Britain and Scholastic in the United States.