Amazon.com sent out word today that the sale of electronic books (books in digital form that can be read on devices like the Kindle or iPad) have outsold hardcover books for the past three months. Presumably softcover books are still holding onto their “most purchased” title, but it may only be a matter of time before they as well fall to the digitized onslaught. This is a sad day for Luddites everywhere. And a happy one for folks who hate paper cuts.
From the New York Times:
The fact that e-books now outsell hardcover books is ‘astonishing when you consider that we’ve been selling hardcover books for 15 years, and Kindle books for 33 months,’ Amazon’s chief executive, Jeffrey P. Bezos, said in a statement.
In the quarter, Amazon said it sold 143 Kindle books for every 100 hardcover books, including hardcovers for which there is no Kindle edition. That number includes the last four weeks, when sales increased to 180 electronic books for every 100 hardcover copies. There are 630,000 Kindle books in Amazon’s library, a fraction of the millions of books sold on the site.”
In a semi-related note, I was discussing the inevitability of this eventually happening with my roommates a few months ago and I developed a theory that I’m pretty proud of. I believe that, in 10 to 15 years, sculpting will become a much more popular art form. In a world where everything is digital and people live in houses basically without clutter (no more shelves filled with books, or CDs, or DVDs), consumers and collectors will want to own pieces of art that no one else can have. If every artwork can be copied and pasted with the click of a button (or whatever constitutes button clicking at that point), sculptures will be the only medium that will be mostly unique. That uniqueness will become very appealing and valuable.
What does this have to do with the electronic book story? Eh, not that much. But it’s kind of a slow news day and I want to be able, if my theory comes true, to be able to point back to this article and say “booyah” to everyone. I’m assuming, of course, that, in the future, people will still be saying “booyah.” Actually does anyone say that now?
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