The e-book has been in existence as early as the mid 90s, though the popularity of digital book publication has recently skyrocketed in a generation where the internet is the way of the future.
In the United States, in September 2009, Amazon launched the Amazon Kindle—a free for all in digital media via wireless networking. Sony had a dominant an e-reader of its own during the time period and by March of 2010, the Barnes & Noble Nook was rumored to have been outselling the Kindle. The Nook itself is based on the popular Android operating system and in April of this year, entered a partnership with Microsoft.
Apple notably surged in recognition on the e-book scene with its 2010 launched, multi-functional device, the iPad. Apple obtained agreements with major publishers to allow them permission to distribute e-books. The iPad also boasts of an app for e-books under the collective identity of the iBookstore.
Not only are e-books selling, writers who are most affected by the movement are now taking to self-publishing online through channels such as Amazon.com.
Which brings up the obvious debate—will hardback and printed books soon go out of style?
According to a recent article published in the Huffington Post UK, “Ebooks appear to be winning the race against print. According to stats released by Amazon, marking the second anniversary of the Kindle launching in the UK, it now sells more ebooks than printed books. Amazon Kindle books now out-sell paperbacks and hardbacks combined. The retailer said 114 ebooks are sold for every 100 print books. It also revealed that Kindle readers buy four times as many books after they buy an e-reader.
Meanwhile it also said that more independent authors are trying to find an audience online than ever before.
In the last 12 months there has been a 400% increase in indie authors using the Amazon store to released self-penned works.”
The trickle down effect from leisure to practical is also underway. Hoover High School in Alabama has recently launched an e-book library and while sales for digital textbooks still make up a small fraction of purchases at colleges, studies predict by 2015, 1 in 4 textbooks will be digital and will continue to increase for years to come. The advantages of digital reading are numerous:
However, the traditional paperbacks and hardcovers also hold economical benefits:
As long as the final factor holds true, the sell and production of traditional books will continue in the United States until the e-book is able to perfect itself and surpass traditional sales. The choice is left in the hands of consumers who become increasingly tech-savvy and dependent on a daily basis.
When it comes down to it, what do you, the readers, favor?
E-books or traditional paperbacks and hardbacks?