Originally Posted by anappo
> And in India? China? Iran? The entire continent of Africa?
> They do have books in those places.
Do they have MP3 players in those places?
They do not (much), which is why MP3s have not replaced tradition, musical-instrument-based music. Which is why ebooks aren't going to replace paper books anytime soon, either.
I suppose books could be compared to vinyl records here, as "a device for recorded creative content" rather than "a device for sharing it"--the equivalent of music performances would be live storytelling. But that's been supplemented by books for hundreds of years, and those aren't going to vanish.
> Latest figures from the Association of American Publishers showed e-book
> sales up 167 percent through May of this year. Printed book sales
> were down 4 percent.
Meaningless comparisons. We need hard numbers, not percentages of growth, to know what's really going on.
I've heard that Paganism is the "fastest growing" religion in North America... because every time they survey for it, a few thousand more admit to it. The numbers almost double every time they collect statistics. "Fast growing" in a fledgling industry is meaningless.
> Adults who claim they read books on polls, is a very different number
> from people who read paper at all.
Ok, if the percentage of US adults who actually read is less than 3/4, then what you said is even less likely to be true, for US (at least), right?
I am saying that adults who don't read even one book a year, still read printed material. Because of that, ebooks aren't going to replace the printing industry anytime soon.
> The move from leisure reading on paper to on screen is just a section
> of the paper-to-pixels transition.
As far as I can see, we are well on our way. Pretty nearly only thing I use paper for these days is packaging material.
I don't read paper books anymore. I'm at the point of buying new books to scan & convert, because I've got no interest in reading them on paper and they're not available in digital form.
> Minors can't even buy ebooks on their own. (There's a twist I haven't seen discussed yet.)
Actually, they can. That the current crop of online shops mostly require credit card payments
You know any that don't?
[/quote]for each purchase does not mean it's the only way of doing this. You can have an account in a shop, where a parent transfers some amount of allowance, that the teenager then can use in that store.[/QUOTE]
A 16-year-old can have a job, and earn a paycheck... but he can't take that paycheck to an ebook store and buy anything without adult intervention. That's going to severely curtain teen use of ebooks. As long as they're an adults-only purchase (or a "let Mom set you up with a special account and a spending limit" purchase), they're not going to be a big part of any teen's life.
Teens can buy books from brick & mortar stores, and they do. They can buy CDs, and they do--and rip them & exchange the files. (Nevermind the darknet; they swap flash drives of songs around among their friends.) They'd do that with the books if it were possible.
I do expect digital books to eventually replace paper. I just don't expect it in the next 20 years; the tech's not that good yet. The change to "mostly ebooks" won't start
until the format wars are settled (which doesn't necessarily mean picking a single format) and the readers are (1) inexpensive, (2) easy to use, and (3) durable. (Oh, and until ownership transfer is possible. Until people can donate their used ebooks to the local library or school, there's not going to be any major changes in publishing systems.)
We're just starting to see the end of land-line telephones, as cellphones have gotten cheap enough & useful enough to not bother with a land-line. But the majority of households still use them, and the switch from books to ebooks is bigger than that.