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Old 12-06-2004, 05:37 AM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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NYT: How e-books come to mainstream

NYT's Sunday Book Review features an interesting essay on how the negative trend in e-books has finally reversed its momentum:
Quote:
[I]t turns out the e-book market has been changing course and, though still tiny, has been growing at double-digit rates. It is, in fact, the fastest-growing segment of the comparatively static publishing world. Between 2002 and 2003, the number of e-books sold rose 71 percent, according to the industry's trade association, the Open eBook Forum. The industry posted record sales in the first quarter of 2004, a 46 percent increase compared with the same period last year.
Author Sarah Glazer argues that main driver of the positive shift in the e-book market is the immense growth in cellphones and handheld devices sold. She doesn't neglect to speak also about the convience of e-books:
Quote:
Fans of cellphone reading tell me they quickly forget about the size of the screen once they get absorbed in a good plot; moreover, they can increase the type size to make it easier on the eyes. And the convenience is unbeatable. A friend of mine, who had forgotten to bring reading matter to the dentist, recently read Kitty Kelley's book ''The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty'' on his Treo smart phone, then text-messaged a particularly damning paragraph about the Bush family to my cell.
In one aspect I strongly disagree with Mrs Glazer: E-books are not "significantly cheaper" than paper books. It may be true that a few bestsellers such as the Dan Browns' "Da Vinci Code" sell for a few cents less, but the overall picture is still bleak. There is no justification for selling e-books on a price-level that is just/or almost on par with paper books. E-books can be easily reproduced, they greatly reduce deliver costs, and they don't require any expensive store space. Similar like it is the case with audio cds vs. downloadable MP3, the publishing industry should reconsider its pricing policy in order to make e-books more attractive.

Overall this is a good essay that clearly depicts how e-books are slowly, but unstoppable integrating into mainstream.
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