Photo: Flickr, CC
The Dematerialization of the Book
The Kindle by Amazon has been selling well for a while, but it has now passed an important milestone: "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."
Photo: kodomut, Flickr, CC
"Customers are now choosing Kindle books more often than print books. We had high hopes that this would happen eventually, but we never imagined it would happen this quickly - we've been selling print books for 15 years and Kindle books for less than four years," said Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO, Amazon.com.
Environmental Benefits - It Depends...
There are benefits and disadvantages to digital books over the paper kind; whether the balance is positive depends on the situation. For example, a book that is bought, read once, and then forgotten in a closet could probably be replaced by a digital copy and we'd come out ahead, but a public library reference book or a literary classic that will be read by hundreds of people over decades provides a very efficient use of resources.
But both printed books and digital books/e-readers can be made greener, and that should be our goal, as both will be around for a while longer.