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E-book Sales Outstripping Paper Books


A Picture of a eBook

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Amazon and Waterstones report downloads eclipsing printed book sales | Books | The Guardian.

I have heard whispers about this for a while but yesterday my friend Kim posted an article on facebook about the subject and it got me thinking about writing a post on it.

I must admit (possibly unusually for The Guardian) that the headline of this article makes things sound more serious (or hopeful I suppose if you are not a fan of the paper book) than they actually are. Well amazon are saying that sales of e-books in the US outstrip sales of real books (with 105 e-books being sold for every 100 ‘real’ books), Waterstones say that only sales of hardbacks are being outstripped by e-books.

Now I really cannot say I am a fan of the Kindle as an idea. I can see why it’s a good idea, I really can, but while my brain has all sorts of arguments for a Kindle my heart just says ‘but it’s not a book’. I love the way books feel in my hands, I love the smell of the paper and ink- it’s something really satisfying for me (having said that I wouldn’t go as far as buying a perfume that smells like books, it’s not something I would want to smell like. Although I suppose I could buy a Kindle and use it to make it smell right!). Plus I really cannot imagine snuggling us with a computer in bed or on the sofa, no matter how small it is (and from reading occasionally on my i-pod I can tell you there is as much problem from something being too small as from something being too big). Yes despite not liking the idea I do have a couple of books on my i-pod, both were free and since February I have read about 16 pages of one. Partly because I don’t like reading from my i-pod, it’s too small and I have to turn pages much more frequently (I’m just glad I don’t have to scroll as with websites), and partly because it’s more uncomfortable to hold. I think the holding it partly bad design, it’s too curved to get a proper grip on, but it’s also because to get the right level for my eyes I have to carry it about chest height. Try it out, imagine holding something that fits in one hand and is easy to drop at chest level, not comfortable is it? Of course a Kindle is larder so may be more comfortable, I can’t tell.

Hmm I feel I am ranting a little.

Yes anyway my brain can see the logic. E-books are generally cheaper so I could buy more. I would be able to carry as many books as I wanted around with me with no trouble, it would pretty much always fit in my bag and I wouldn’t get that annoying point where you realise your book won’t last you until you get home. Sometimes when I’m reading a big book and trying to cram a million things in one bag I do almost wish I could have a Kindle to make things easier, but I could never abandon my real books, I love them.

I can’t see real books going, at least not yet. There is something about a real book that I think will take a long time to really shake. I would be incredibly sad to see them go if t happened, but, so long as there were still good stories being written, and people reading them I think I could cope with digital books- if with a little sadness.

Do you have any experiences with Kindles? What are your thoughts on Kindles verses real books?

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