Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Ever-Growing eBook World

Yesterday I read that Forrester Research estimates that the eBook market will reach $13.7 million by the year 2017. Those may seem like somewhat astonishing numbers to some, but during my last several years of travel I've seen a growing number of Kindles, Nooks and iPads amongst the passengers I'm in flight with. I've seen it where my entire row is occupied by people with reading devices. The usual reason is that "I can bring five books with me on my trip instead of just picking one."

There is still a role for magazines since the stewardess requests that we turn off our devices during takeoff and landing. But the reach of electronic publishing is extensive and I was thinking about new channels for the future.

I love libraries, and one of my favorite events each year is the annual Friends of the Library Book Sale. Do you think libraries will one day have sales of used eBooks? I know it sounds strange, but we're already seeing some libraries acquiring eBooks that can be borrowed without even going to the library by using a free app.

Libraries are free to the public, but the closer you live the less gasoline you need to get there. With this new method of borrowing, library users can take books out on loan without ever leaving their homes. 

The notion of used eBooks may seem strange to you but according to SingularityHUB Amazon has already obtained a patent titled Secondary Market For Digital Objects. I don't know about you but I buy a lot of used books online, primarily from Amazon.com, and I don't mind a few dog-eared pages or worn cover when the price is right. But I'm having difficulty picturing what a used eBook will look like. It won't have any torn pages.

If the concept of used eBooks is hard to wrap your mind around, you're not alone. Jeff O'Neal of BookRiot raises a lot of good questions in his response to this new concept. How different are used eBooks from used print volumes? Why can't I sell my eBooks after I buy them since I can sell my used print books? Is there a market for used eBooks?  And so on....

We're travelling into some pretty unfamiliar terrain with this digital future we find ourselves in. If you need to comfort yourself with a good book, maybe you can start by downloading one of mine. :-)

Featured eBook of the Day: Unremembered Histories 

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