Thursday, January 03, 2008

food for thought - will e-books go the same way?

"The digital growth in downloaded songs and albums hit record levels in 2007, but it wasn't enough to make up for the loss in physical CD sales. Sales in the U.S. of all albums, digital and physical, dropped 15% to 500.5 million from the 588.2 million sold in 2006. Last year was the seventh consecutive in which music sales have dipped; the last rise was in 2000, when album sales hit 800 million." Variety


Christopher Miles said...

I don't think so. The decline is physical CD sales is partly to do with changing tastes -- there's a shift to listening to individual tracks rather than whole albums. Arguably, the digital download has contributed to this change in taste, but it's also that the popular artists of the last decade aren't producing 'album' albums in the same way that, say, the popular alternative rock artists of 15 years were.

I don't know that this kind of 'grazing' translates to books. Other printed material, like newspapers and magazines, are another story. I only ever read the physical Age on weekends; the rest of the week I read it online. The physical version I'm more inclined to read cover to cover; less so the digital version. I'd rather have a physical copy of a magazine like The Monthly though; the articles are longer, and taking a laptop into the toilet for a read Isn't Quite Right.

This may all change if someone produces a digital device that is to the written word what the iPod is to music. But Amazon's Kindle doesn't look to be it. My bet is that Apple will have something out in the next 5 years, and that it will involve some kind of magical digital paper, like their magic touchscreen.

Hobo said...

I've written a book and am considering making an ebook version with a link between chapters to donate to the author. My book is a fantasy story set in modern Melbourne.

Andrew's black dog blog said...

A friend's 14 year old daughter, Maeve, no longer even bothers to listen to whole songs, she just samples the bits she like. You can't quite do that with a novel in the same way you can do it with music.

I think one of the keys to the magic digital is it needs to be as cheap (almost) and as disposable as paper.

I haven't got very far with reading the e-book living on my palm. It's not unpleasant when I do it but it doesn't suck me in.

Andrew's black dog blog said...

Good luck, Hobo. It's sort of like the business model of the 19th century three decker novels.