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January 28, 2011

Kindle Books Outsell Paperbacks

I was going to save this for Sunday's book thread, but what the heck.

Amazon has announced that sales of e-books for the Kindle have outstripped sales of paperbacks for the first time. Is this good news, bad news, or just, you know, another technological milestone?

I love my Kindle and I buy e-book versions of novels whenever I can, but still...I find this news unsettling. There are some fairly deep questions about what will happen if books go the way of film cameras and music CDs. E-books can't be loaned or re-sold, and can be "lost" forever if your device malfunctions or gets broken somehow (though the "cloud" model in theory allows you to re-download, what happens if the "cloud" goes down?). All the same caveats that apply to digital music also applies to e-books, and more besides.

It just seems to me that we are rushing into a paper-book-free world without really considering what that really means. (And yes, I am aware of the hypocrisy latent in that position, given that I just bought two e-books on my Kindle yesterday.)


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posted by Monty at 02:39 PM

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