Category Archives: eBooks

Nicholas Negroponte Predicts E-Books Will “Kill” Physical Books within Five Years

Nicholas Negoponte Nicholas Negroponte, founder and Chairman Emeritus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab and also the founder of the One Laptop per Child Association made a rather bold prediction at the Techonomy conference in in Lake Tahoe, CA last week. His prediction? Printed books are “dead” within five years. Here’s a summary of his comments from CrunchGear’s Devin Coldewey:
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Barnes & Noble: How the Mighty have Fallen

auction Multiple news sources are reporting that Barnes & Noble, the bookseller with 720 stores and the recent Nook e-reader, is thinking about putting itself up for sale. (Full disclosure: B&N is my favorite book or any other kind of store. I’m a fan.)

Being a publicly traded company, B&N is constantly under pressure to try and make its stock performance attractive for investors. And it’s falling short. So one of the options is to put itself on the auction block. Possible buyers include the founder and chairman of the board Leonard Riggio who, it’s said, is looking at putting together an investment group to buy out the company and take it private.
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Author Patricia Ryan Talks About Self-Publishing with E-Books

patricia-ryan Contemporary and historical romance novelist Patricia Ryan recently had an online “chat” with TeleRead where she offered her insights and predictions about established authors turning to self-publishing via e-books. Since 1995, Ryan has authored 27 novels and novellas for the likes of Bantam, Berkley Prime Crime, Signet, NAL, Harlequin and and St. Martin’s. It’s a big deal when established authors like Ryan start trumpeting self-publishing with e-books. Here’s one small section of the interview I found enlightening:
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Amazon Speaks Out on Agency Model, E-Book Prices and Market Share

CNET recently interviewed Ian Freed, Amazon vice president in charge of the Kindle. Among the interesting things he said was that Amazon sells 70-80 percent of all e-books sold. When asked about claims by Apple and Barnes & Noble that they have something like 20 percent of the market each, Freed said Amazon’s pretty sure about their own numbers and “something doesn’t add up” with the claims from others. I think he’s right. Let’s say Amazon has 75 percent of the market, Apple, maybe 8-10 percent, and everyone else the rest. I think that’s a pretty fair assessment of where things stand right now.

There was also this interesting question and answer on the topic of agency pricing and the price points for e-books in general:
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E-Books Now Outselling Hardcover Books at Amazon.com

It seems a trend at some coffee and sandwich shops in New York City is to ban computer use, at least for a few hours each day. In a New York Times article on August 2, author Nick Bilton relates his experience with “please put down the Kindle sir.”

The interesting bit of news from the article (for me) comes near the end of the story:
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Jason Epstein Writes on the Future of E-Books

Jason Epstein The following quote from Jason Epstein is from an article he published in the The New York Review of Books, March 11, 2010:

“The transition within the book publishing industry from physical inventory stored in a warehouse and trucked to retailers to digital files stored in cyberspace and delivered almost anywhere on earth as quickly and cheaply as e-mail is now underway and irreversible. This historic shift will radically transform worldwide book publishing, the cultures it affects and on which it depends. Meanwhile, for quite different reasons, the genteel book business that I joined more than a half-century ago is already on edge, suffering from a gambler’s unbreakable addiction to risky, seasonal best sellers, many of which don’t recoup their costs, and the simultaneous deterioration of backlist, the vital annuity on which book publishers had in better days relied for year-to-year stability through bad times and good. The crisis of confidence reflects these intersecting shocks, an overspecialized marketplace dominated by high-risk ephemera and a technological shift orders of magnitude greater than the momentous evolution from monkish scriptoria to movable type launched in Gutenberg’s German city of Mainz six centuries ago.” (emphasis mine)

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Why I Chose to Buy an Amazon Kindle as My eBook Reader

Amazon Kindle 2Before departing on a recent business trip to London, I purchased an Amazon Kindle 2 (Global version) ebook reader for the trip. The trip was my shameless justification for buying. You see, I’m a hopelessly, forever-comitted reading addict. I’ve been a regular reader since my youth, and my reading habit seems to have progressed from regular to heavy in mid-life. I am literally running out of wall and bookshelf space in my office. I have perhaps a thousand books in my personal collection currently, and if I added all of the books I’ve owned over the years, that number would easily quadruple. I purchase new and used books at an alarming rate–ask my wife!
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