I entered the e-book market when my first novel, Stroke of Luck, was published as an e-book in 1999. I got my first e-book reader shortly after that. Back then, few people had even heard of e-books. We demonstrated e-book readers at booksignings and spent as much time educating readers about e-books as promoting our individual books.
How times have changed! In a press release from Amazon.com, Jeff Bezos said,
Even while our hardcover sales continue to grow, the Kindle format has now overtaken the hardcover format. Amazon.com customers now purchase more Kindle books than hardcover books–astonishing when you consider that we’ve been selling hardcover books for 15 years, and Kindle books for 33 months.
Recently, I’ve come across several indications of the growth of the e-book market.
- Amazon.com press release, July 19, 2010—in the past month, Amazon has sold 180 Kindle titles for every 100 hardcover books (excluding free Kindle editions), and the Kindle is the best-selling item on Amazon for the second year in a row.
- Article at Zeta, July 2, 2010—As prices of e-book readers continue to fall, e-book sales are expected to overtake print book sales soon.
- Several articles in Publishing Poynters newsletter, July 15, 2010—Barnes & Noble sees strong growth, all from e-book sales; Borders and Books-a-Million are both opening e-bookstores; and James Patterson has sold more than 1.4 e-books.
- Smashwords has published its 15,000th e-book title—The blog post also mentions an author who has earned over $4,000 in a month from his Smashwords sales at Barnes & Noble.
When I used to read from my e-book reader in public, I always had people asking what it was. Now when I read from my Kindle in public, people either say they have one or they want one.
And, of course, if you want to join the e-reading movement, you can buy a Kindle at Amazon or a variety of other e-readers from several different vendors.