Amazon has recently announced that during the past three months, the sale of eBooks has overtaken the sale of hardcover books. Amazon has sold some 631,000 Kindle devices, which are made exclusively for the eBook readers; the company states that this figure includes the free books it offers, as well. Books written before 1923 are now public domain since the copyrights have expired and comprise 1.8 million books available for free to anyone.

A recent news article states:

Book lovers mourning the demise of hardcover books with their heft and their musty smell need a reality check, said Mike Shatzkin, founder and chief executive of the Idea Logical Company, which advises book publishers on digital change. “This was a day that was going to come, a day that had to come,” he said. He predicts that within a decade, fewer than 25 percent of all books sold will be print versions.

The shift at Amazon is “astonishing when you consider that we’ve been selling hardcover books for 15 years, and Kindle books for 33 months,” the chief executive, Jeffrey P. Bezos, said in a statement.

Still, the hardcover book is far from extinct. Industrywide sales are up 22 percent this year, according to the American Publishers Association.

The growth rate of Kindle sales tripled after Amazon lowered the price of the device in late June to $189 from $259, Amazon said. That was moments after Barnes & Noble dropped the price of its Nook e-reader to $199 from $259.

For those of you who may not be aware of it, you can download free software from Amazon to view eBooks right on your computer. This means that you do not even have to purchase a Kindle to view eBooks. I have tried this and it works very well. I have enjoyed reading some of the old classics for free.

But the one question remains. Will eBooks eventually replace hardcover books and drive the book publishing industry out of business?

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Source – N.Y. Times

Free eBook software for your PC. Supports Windows 7, Vista, and XP