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The Death of the Book

The corporate announcement that I suspected would be announced one day has happened sooner than I expected:

NASDAQ:AMZN)–Amazon began selling hardcover and paperback books in July 1995. Twelve years later in November 2007, Amazon introduced the revolutionary Kindle and began selling Kindle books. By July 2010, Kindle book sales had surpassed hardcover book sales, and six months later, Kindle books overtook paperback books to become the most popular format on Amazon.com. Today, less than four years after introducing Kindle books, Amazon.com customers are now purchasing more Kindle books than all print books – hardcover and paperback – combined.

While I recently joined the Kindle owning class, I look at the shelves of books that I possess in a melancholic fashion. I suspect that it is inevitable that in twenty years time  those people who retain bookshelves will be viewed as oddballs, comparable to how we might currently view those who write letters by dipping a quill in ink.

UPDATE

Richard Kelly, author of the forthcoming novel, The Possessions of Doctor Forest,  available in both print and electronic form, has brought to my attention the following event on Monday evening at Birkbeck College, University of London. This is one for which I have registered and certainly hope to attend:

Discussion : Future Writer: the impact of digitization on established and new writers
Date: 23 May 2011
From: 18:00 to 19:30

Location: Room B35, Malet Street building

Free entry; booking required. Registration details.

Novelist Richard T Kelly, Becky Jones, e-commerce manager at Foyles, and Kevin Conroy-Scott of Tibor Jones literary agency will discuss what digital developments mean for established authors’ back catalogues and for out-of-print books.

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