The announcement that Amazon sold more ebooks in the last three months of 2010 than paperbacks seems to have created a few headlines, as if ebooks are suddenly a legitimate media. It’s prompted some articles about the future of publishing, such as this one on the BBC and SF Signals compilation of author comment.
I’ve written a few times before about my thoughts on where publishing will go and that it’ll likely result in a boom of self-published work (only spurred on by Amazon’s recent offering of Kindle Singles). I’m not so sure things like videos and other media will have a lasting effect on ebooks, but you never know.
What’s interesting is that no one seems to think it will completely destroy the current industry or cause a drop in quality writing because authors will no longer be able to write full-time due to diminishing returns.
Ironically, I’m currently reading some of Cory Doctorow’s articles on freedom of technology and media (i.e. getting rid of DRM, it doesn’t help) on a Kindle I’ve borrowed. There jury is still out on whether I’ll be replacing physical copies with electronic in the near future, but I’m sure it’ll happen.
Perhaps the best news is that electronic copies enable much broader ranges of books to be carried by shops and that no book need ever be out-of-print again.