E-books: A Big, Broad Overview

October 2009
by Davida G. Breier

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E-books: A Big, Broad Overview

Davida G. Breier

In Jasper Fforde’s novel The Well of Lost Plots, he envisions a world where Book Version 8.3 (the lovely paper kind of book we are accustomed to) is to be replaced with Version 9.0, a new book-delivery system known as UltraWord. Although the novel is satirical, it predicts many aspects of digital publishing that have become realities in the last couple of years. For the characters in the book and many of us out here in the “real” world, changes to our beloved books are unnerving.

Some of us remember a time when publishing houses were defined by the physical format of their books; there were hardcover publishers, trade paperback publishers, and mass-market publishers, and each physical format had its own sales channels. Then books in different physical formats began being offered side by side in a variety of sales channels. Now, thanks in large part to new technology, the watchword in the book business is content, and readers can choose not only among physical formats but between formats that are physical and formats that are digital.

Numbers to Consider in Context

Early speculation was that e-books would account for 10 percent of book sales by 2010, but so far the big tra…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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