About those E-versions of books… The worry mounts
I have written before about the danger to the “traditional book” (you know — the kind you hold in your hand, the kind with a cover, and pages, and the smell of books if they are old enough) posed by the arrival of the Kindle and its rivals. The worry is spreading far and wide.
Here are the words of the head of a major French publishing group:
Hardback books could be killed off if Amazon’s e-books and Google’s digital library force publishers to slash prices, Arnaud Nourry, chief executive of French publishing group Hachette, has warned.
His complaint is primarily the fixed price of $9.99. Out-of-copyright books have no author to pay, and the current hard covers are $9.99, which means:
“On the one hand, you have millions of books for free where there is no longer an author to pay and, on the other hand, there are very recent books, bestsellers at $9.99, which means that all the rest will have to be sold at between zero and $9.99,” Mr Nourry said.
I don’t know the ultimate outcome of this battle. It is still very early. But one look at sales figures for Kindle versions of best-sellers and you learn that the market share is rising faster than most imagined it would. And it is still in its infancy. As I have said, just wait until Apple comes out with a reader, as is rumored.
And– market share, price point — these do not touch on another key feature, the sheer convenience of the product. You can literally carry an entire library in your hand.
Let’s keep checking back in on over time. It is going to be an interesting ride.