Kindles were first introduced to the UK market in 2010. They have since soared in popularity, with many seeing them as more practical than their paper counterparts, but how have they actually fared when compared with the traditional printed book?
Figures released by online retail service Amazon reveal that since the start of 2012, more eBooks have been sold through their site than print-books. For every 100 physical books sold, 114 eBooks are downloaded. For such a shift in buying habits to take place in just two years is staggering. The US has reported similar trends over the four years that it has been using eBooks via dedicated platforms.
Many are surprised by the fact that such a massive change to the way we consume media has taken place over such a small amount of time. This widespread ‘digitalisation’ of print-media was a staple of science fiction just a few years ago.
Amazon proclaim the Kindle to be their number one bestselling item, and have widely marketed it on their own site, but the real reason for its success is pricing. The Kindle itself can cost anywhere between £89 and £169, which may seem expensive initially. However, the cost of a full-length novel in eBook form averages around £3-£4, with no delivery charge.
The publishing industry is already undergoing a rapid and near-violent change when it comes to eBooks. The advent of the internet caused self-publishing to become a realistic and accessible option, which hurt the sales of firms. Now, the portability of eBook-readers has spelled a massive overhaul to the way in which publishing firms do business. Many books are now released in a digital format. with physical copies printed if they prove successful.
The world of digital publishing is a new and exciting one. Whether traditional publishers embrace or reject these changes could make the difference between success and failure. Any further developments will be watched closely by gadget-fans and book lovers alike.