I’ve been looking into the growing e-book phenomenon. And obviously, I’m not the first, so I’ve got some catching up to do.
There have been several reports published on paper and all over the Web about how e-books are outselling print books, staring last year. In July 2010, Wired reported that Amazon’s e-books outsold print books. And the margin is accelerating.
And there are many more sources than Amazon for an e-book: Chapters/Indigo in Canada sells books for the Kobo e-reader that it sells; Barnes & Noble sells its new Nook, now available with some colour, and sells e-books formatted for it.
And don’t forget that the Borders bookstore chain has filed for bankruptcy and closed a lot of stores.
Print will never die completely. TV didn’t wipe out radio, right? US print shipments are up 4.4 percent in February 2011 compared to February 2010. Granted, 2010 was a tough year in printing, so this is regaining ground that was lost, but there is still a lot of printing going on. KBA, the second-largest manufacturer of printing presses in the world, reports a “printing boom” in the developing markets of China, Brazil, India and Turkey, and strong growth in the Middle East and Latin America.
So, what’s getting printed? I think it’s probably flyers. The volume on my doorstep keeps getting bigger.
And then there are books by celebrities—anyone who’s done anything flamboyantly egregious gets a book out there pretty quickly.
Whatever’s getting printed, it ain’t literature.