It was announced yesterday that electronic books (ebooks) outsold hardcover books for the first time in fiction. That is a milestone, but not unexpected. Amazon reported ebooks outselling paperbooks last year for the first time in history. In fact, ebooks more than doubled in popularity in 2011. There is no reason to think those sales won't continue to double and maybe even triple. Ebooks now account for 15% of the popularity of book sales compared to 6% in 2010. Ebooks accounted for just over $2 billion in sales. That is still far less than the $11 billion that still come from print books (paperbacks and hardcover). However, adult ficiton ebooks accounted for 30% of net publisher sales. That's compared to just 13% in 2010. That is a remarkable statistic.
Of course, ebook readers, such as Kindle, are a major factor in the popularity of ebooks. Tablets, such as iPad and the new Kindle Fire, are another reason ebooks are just taking off as technology is slowly edging out the old, cumbersome printed form of publishing. Now, I'm not saying that the printed word will disappear completely (not yet anyway). People still like the idea of holding and feeling a book in their hands. It seems more intimate to the reader and I can understand that. The Publishing Industry is reeling from the affects of this new technology of ebooks and ebook readers, tablets, etc. Publishers were slow to accept the new technology. In many respects, the traditional publishers only have themselves to blame for their own demise. Publishers have hurt so many writers and their careers because they don't fit into a certain criteria they established for many years. A recovering addicted Hollywood star gets far more attention than a promising writer these days from the traditional publishing industry. I lump literary agents in this problem area also. Now, writers can completely bypass these two obstructions and publish on their own, thanks to the ebook revolution. I, for one, welcome this change.