November 10, 2010

The Move to the Digital Age

Recently, my inbox has been flooded with stories about, and advertisements for, online books. The newest trend is Amazon's Kindle, which enables the reader to purchase and download books that can be read from a small, but convenient, computer-like screen. Now, Apple has caught on and has redirected it's advertising for it's iPad, now their ads focus on online books. I can't help but wonder how convenient this new-aged media venue actually is.

When I trudge to the nearby pool this summer, am I risking an electrical shock via the splashes from the overweight public-pool users? Of course with an e-reader my pages will not be wrinkling from the salt water while I visit my aunt at the beach, but are they sand and sun proof? And while I'm snowboarding this winter and riding the 45 minute lift ride to the top of the mountain for each run, will my e-reader freeze up, no pun intended, or frost over? While this seems to be the future for books (trust me, I'll be holding on tightly to all of my books, just like the vinyl record collecting junkies do now), how convenient is this really?

Because of my various doubts, I did some research and came across this article about the future and success of e-readers. What I found was scary, thus explaining to me that maybe (if I ever have children), I'll be that old, lame mom clinging to her wrinkled and torn copy of "Catcher in the Rye," while my kids are telling me to "get with it."This will be just like what I told my mom about text messaging when she insisted on still sending handwritten letters to my dorm. God help me.

Here's some of the research I gathered, thanks to "The Slatest."

 "Only 7 percent of online adults have ever read an e-book, but the market is booming, and virtual book sales will easily hit $966 million by the end of the year. And once the billion-dollar mark is broached, consumer strategists predict that things will only happen faster: By 2015, sales are expected to reach $3 billion. Additionally, digital book sales are not only growing, they're growing among readers. E-book aficionados '[read] the most books, [spend] the most money on books, and [consume] 41% of books in digital form'—whether or not they own an e-reader. According to Mashable, this jibes with recent Amazon and Apple statements celebrating strong sales of Kindles and iPads. For Forrester's James McQuivey, this isn't just a reflection of a good sales year, but a sea change in book publishing. 'Not only do publishers need to take digital seriously, they must make it the new default for publishing,' McQuivey writes, 'preparing for a day in which physical book publishing is an adjunct activity that supports the digital publishing business.'"

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