E-Book, Publishing, Library and Bookselling News
February 14, 2011
So, will libraries survive the e-book shift? One wouldn't think so, but that may not be true. People might prefer to check out an e-book. Here's a story from the Argus Leader.
The growing numbers took officials at Siouxland Libraries by surprise. In November, people downloaded 460 electronic books from the library website.In December, the number jumped to 915. When January's total was tallied: 1,687."That," said Siouxland Libraries official Jodi Fick, "is amazing."
Pretty much my reaction, too. Also, um, weird. I've often wondered what the appeal of an e-reader would be to the person--and you know, I probably know more people like this than I know voracious book-buyers--who only buy a couple books a year or say, "Why would I buy a book when I'm just going to read it once," or who say, God love them, "I'll just go to the library." So apparently what's going on here is people buy the device, then can download free books through their library. However, you apparently can't do this with the Amazon Kindle.
In an international story, a supermarket company in the UK has put forth a color ebook reader called View Quest that costs 52 pounds. As of today, that's about $84 US. It's a small device, about five inches, but man, that's cheap.
Interestingly, there appears to be a market for used devices. You can buy a refurbished Nook e-reader for $79.99. Which begs the question, are they being abandoned by owners, or are the owners upgrading or changing to a different e-reader. Inquiring minds want to know.
And in case you didn't hear about it, USA Today had an article in yesterday's paper about self-publishing e-books, citing Amanda Hocking in particular, for having sold 164,000 books in 2010. I actually found the story moderately interesting (there isn't really anything new to those of us who pay any attention to this sort of things because, you know, it AFFECTS us), although of particular interest was not the bit on Hocking, but the part on H.P. Mallory, who sold 70,000 copies of her e-books since July, and as a result was offered a three-book contract with Random House, which she took. I'm sure some people think she's crazy, but I wonder what she thinks she's getting from Random she wasn't getting on her own. Only time will tell, I suppose.
And finally, in today's USA Today, an article about how small independent bookstores appear to be bucking the trend by staying in business by, uh, selling books at full price and stocking fewer titles and, uh... I have no goddamned clue, but I suspect that in the long-run some indie bookstores will make it and some won't, but I would guess community involvement and catering to a demographic that thinks the e-book is the work of the devil might help. God knows I love a good indie bookstore, but the nearest one to me is... I have no clue. Off-hand, the nearest one to me I've been to is Aunt Agatha's, which is in Ann Arbor, about 80 to 100 miles away from me. There used to be one in nearby Lake Orion, but it went out of business a decade ago.