There's been a lot of talk about Amazon's announcement that Kindle e-books are outselling paper books at their Web site. Many uninformed folks have taken Amazon's claim and started spreading a loud rumor that E-BOOKS HAVE TAKEN OVER PUBLISHING.
E-books in general account for around $69M of the market, while adult paperback and adult hardcover combine for about $212.5M, according to the Association of American Publishers (AAP). March 2011 sales figures showed that print books as a whole equal somewhere around $338M while e-books (as mentioned previously) are at $69M.
When will e-books really take over?
There are a lot of guesses, of course, but no one knows for sure. If the transition from print to e-books compares at all to CDs and MP3s in the music industry, it could be only a couple years until e-books really take over. On March 2, 1983, CD players and discs were released in the US and other markets. Audio Highway released the first MP3 player in 1997. Certain studies show that digital music will finally overtake CDs by 2012, which means consumers will have taken roughly 15 years since the introduction of the first MP3 player to "switch over" to digital music.
The first e-reader, the Rocketbook, released in 1998.
Is 2013 the magic date for the e-book takeover, then? I don't think so, but it's fun to create an educated guess, isn't it? When do you think e-books will rule the world?
On a side note, I don't believe paper books will ever disappear. People are too attached to that format to let it go entirely. I think e-books and paper books will coexist for many, many years to come! Both are incredibly important to the publishing world.