It’s Official: Dead tree books are over

Amazon has announced that ebooks are now outselling paperbacks.

Amazon made waves when it announced in July that Kindle content was outselling hardcover books. But industry analysts quickly dismissed that milestone, pointing out that paperback books sell far more copies than pricier hardcovers.

E-books have now vanquished their paperback rivals as well.

“This milestone has come even sooner than we expected — and it’s on top of continued growth in paperback sales,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a prepared statement.

In fact, for every 100 paperback books sold, Amazon has sold 115 Kindle books since the beginning of the year, the company said.

That happened faster than I thought it would and I’ve been predicting the end of dead tree books for years.

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10 Responses to It’s Official: Dead tree books are over

  1. mike w. says:

    Call me old fashioned but I still buy paperbacks. I like having the physical book in my hands.

  2. Bubblehead Les says:

    Wonder if Amazon has built in a “Kill Switch” when they decide that you need to buy the “New and Improved” Kindle and the books you bought for the old “Legacy” model won’t work when you try to transfer it over? Meanwhile, as I reach for my First Edition set of Churchill’s Memoirs…..

  3. Linoge says:

    Seconded. And while Better Half has had her Kindle for darned near six months now, we have not bought a single book, and she has been reading non-stop on it… Still buy the occasional paperback, though (especially from one particular author 😉 ).

  4. Ruthcatrin says:

    Which is why i refuse to buy a kindle. Ebook reader yes. But not a kindle

  5. I’m still a paper book guy, but my daughter and other people I know love their Kindles. If I ever get an ebook reader it will be after the industry goes through their “proprietary format” phase and adopts a universal standard.

  6. Jake says:

    E-book readers are wonderfully convenient, but I do still prefer having a physical copy. I’ll frequently buy a hardcopy of a book after buying the e-book, just so I have it. A paper copy is just so much more pleasant to read.

  7. LMB says:

    Yea, Kindles, laptops, and tablet PCs just don’t have that feel that paper books do. Plus, you don’t have to wait for a book to boot, nor do you have to recharge it.

    Now, for technical manuals (like PC networking/troubleshooting/repair/programming or for car shop manuals and such) electronic readers are a godsend. Since information of that nature tends to change fairly often, being able to easily just update your manual(s) on your eReader is quite nice and you’re not wasting vast amounts of paper. Not to mention you’re not likely gonna curl up with a good copy of Administering Windows Server 2008 before bedtimw!

  8. Ken says:

    I have a Sony Reader Touch (Father’s Day gift; got the cover/book light for Christmas). I have gotten to where I think it’s every bit as good a reading experience as paper books, _provided_ the e-book is in epub format. PDF isn’t nearly as good on an ebook reader, because of line-break and text reflow headaches. Tried to read a Journal of Business Research article PDF on it and it wasn’t worth the candle.

    If I maxed out the Reader’s memory slots and filled them with books, I’d have more than I could possibly read in one lifetime; even now, I’ve got 44 books (including all of Gibbon, most of Dostoevsky, a fair bit of Tolstoy, Dumas, and Twain) I can carry around in a cargo pocket. All but a couple of my books are from Gutenberg or the Mises Institute or the Online Library of Liberty or places like that (I have Barnett’s Restoring the Lost Constitution, but it’s PDF so I read it on the computer instead of the Reader).

  9. I have to disagree on ebooks for technical manuals – I have yet to find a format that takes dirt, oil, grease, and metal shavings well, allows easy notes written in the margins, and highlighting important parts. Much less, there’s no easy substitute for dog-eared pages and post-it notes written with the relevant section tabs for quick lookup – and if I drop it on a shop floor, paper doesn’t shatter a screen and become worthless.

    On the other hand, the search function makes it worthwhile to have a laptop protected from the general shop environment, as well as the ability to link pictures and check the FAA’s ruling position on repairs.

    Personally, I go for the other future – the one where I can get a cheap pulp recyclable version printed on demand to read and enjoy. Paper doesn’t strain my eyes like a screen, and it’s more of a tactile pleasure to thumb through.

  10. Matt says:

    I’d like to see the definition of “sold”, though. Does the number include free eBooks downloaded through them, or merely those that actually had to be paid for?

    As for me…well, I welcome the change. If a book isn’t worth buying in hardcover, it’s not worth buying on paper at all. The fact that I don’t want to have to take up competitive weightlifting in order to travel with sufficient options to amuse myself means that I was already relying more on pirated PDF scans of many books than on the copies I actually owned. So this just cuts out the middleman (not to mention reducing the incentive to cheat).

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