Expanding the e-book nook

Posted by izzyabraham
izzyabraham
A 4th-year Journalism & Media Studies student, specializing in New Media. I'm fr
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on Monday, 14 May 2012
in Digital Blogs

“To sit alone in the lamplight with a book spread out before you, and hold intimate converse with men of unseen generations - such is a pleasure beyond compare.”  -Kenko Yoshida-


The UK Publisher’s Association released its statistics in early May: consumer e-book sales increased by 366% in 2011. Overall digital sales grew by 54%.

The Pew Research Center found that 21% of Americans have read an e-book, and the average digital reader has read more books than non-e-book consumers.

At such an expansion rate, what hope is left for regular books?

Electronic books have been around for a while, but recently they’ve been gaining momentum. Typically, an e-book is a digital version of a physical book, but now some texts are published exclusively online.

Growing e-bookworms

When the Oxford English Dictionary announced that it would cease print editions, something died within book-lovers. How could this have happened to such a crucial information resource?

Although print sales still reign, reading habits are quickly finding a new place online. If the e-book is the future, then publishers have to embark on a new mission.

Harlequin’s Mills&Boon has been thriving online. Their Digital and Marketing Director, Tim Cooper, attributes this to the fact that publishers and consumers can directly communicate through technology. He also notes that part of the appeal of digital reading is that nobody can see what you are reading. In other words, there aren’t any embarrassing front covers that reveal the erotic fiction within.

The Pottermore store’s sales of Harry Potter e-books stacked up to over £1 million in the first three days of publication. Now all seven HP e-books will be available through the Amazon Kindle Lending Library in mid-June.

No wonder publishers have to incorporate online strategies in their financial planning and marketing tactics.

Funeral bells for books

Bye-bye bookmarks. Bye-bye bookstores. Gone are the days of the library – now it’s the ebrary!

What’s up with the obsession of electronic reading? Printed books can survive for decades, whereas electronic devices wear out pretty fast. E-books, as with most technological mechanisms, are non-biodegradable. While books are fairly accessible, only specific populations can afford e-readers.

And which would you choose: screen glare and eyestrain, or the comfort of flipping through normal pages? Also, there’s the issue of digital rights management, and e-books can be hacked. Finally, a real book will never run out of power.

Obviously, e-books have advantages:

- No paper or ink is used.

- The e-reader is expensive, but electronic texts are much cheaper than books.

- Carrying a single reader around is like having a bookstore in your bag, sans the heavy burden.

- No more dog-ears or page tears.

- Some e-book readers allow can change fonts and translate into different languages.

- An e-book will never go out of print.

Digital literature inspires innovative digital devices; consumers are spoilt for choice with e-book readers: Nook, Kindle, iPad are just a few.

Soon there will be no more paper cuts and sore limbs from lugging hardcovers around. But this also means that the legacy of literature has changed.

What many don’t realise is that the bliss of reading isn’t just from the story itself; it also comes from the physical presence of a book, the weight of it in your hand.

“Lord! When you sell a man a book you don't sell just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue - you sell him a whole new life.  Love and friendship and humour and ships at sea by night - there's all heaven and earth in a book, a real book.”  -Christopher Morley-

 

 

It looks like there is no way to stop the era of the e-book. For more info about online reading, listen to the podcast below. It includes commentary by author Dan Poynter about the future of books and publishing online: 

E-book podcast by izzyabraham
A 4th-year Journalism & Media Studies student, specializing in New Media. I'm from Mozambique, studying at Rhodes University in South Africa. Also Deputy Editor of the independent campus newspaper, Activate.

Comments

Jude
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Jude Monday, 14 May 2012

I see what you did there

I see what you did there. e-book nook? Or is that e-book Nook (r)
">http://www.barnesandnoble.com/p/nook-simple-touch-barnes-noble/1102344735 :D

izzyabraham
izzyabraham
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izzyabraham Monday, 14 May 2012

original meaning

nook. :-) not the device. but yes, I'm very aware of the Nook.

Ms. Gadget
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Megan Ellis is a New Media student and young journalist at Rhodes University.
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Ms. Gadget Monday, 14 May 2012

Green e-books

Strangely enough, Ebooks might not be so popular with the green movement. In my blog post about green tech (http://www.mydigitallife.co.za/index.php?option=com_easyblog&view=entry&id=1061251&Itemid=350) I included a finding that ebooks have a larger carbon footprint than paperbacks.

I personally am sticking to books - since I don't have as much time as I would like to read, I only read up to ten books or so a year. It's therefore much cheaper to buy the books.

I do admit though that reading an ebook version of Jane Austen's complete collection would be much easier than working my arms to support my 1,300 page edition in the tiniest writing imagineable.

I still like the idea of having a personal library in my house one day, so that my kids can read all the great literary works I've been collecting. Plus, it's cheaper than buying them all ebooks :P

izzyabraham
izzyabraham
A 4th-year Journalism & Media Studies student, specializing in New Media. I'm fr
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izzyabraham Monday, 14 May 2012

library at home

It's a dream of mine to have a huge library in my home. E-books would kill that dream! I've been building up my collection of 'great literary works' too :).

And I'm almost glad e-books are not green. That way people might be compelled to stick to regular old books.

Ms. Gadget
Ms. Gadget
Megan Ellis is a New Media student and young journalist at Rhodes University.
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Ms. Gadget Monday, 14 May 2012

Ditto

Same here :) plus I refuse to lose that feeling of excitement when you finally buy a book you've been saving up for. Plus, if you break/lose or have your ebook reader stolen, it's a much bigger loss than losing/ruining a single book.

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