Those e-books just keep marching along. Lately there's been quite a bit of chatter about the digital world of books. First, Amazon has released its third generation Kindle, which is faster at page turns, lighter, smaller yet with with same size screen, and holds more books. (Read the complete list of improvements here.) The new Kindle remains at $189. A wi-fi only version sells for $139.
Then, just days after the release, Amazon announced it's already sold out of the new Kindles. You can preorder the $189 or the $139 model for an early September shipment.
Meanwhile Jeff Bezos of Amazon recently announced the online bookseller is already selling more ebooks than hardbacks. (At a ratio of 143 to 100 during the second quarter.) He predicts it won't take long for e-book sales to next eclipse paperbacks. And sometime in the future--although he didn't give a time frame--he expects e-book sales to exceed both hardback and paperback sales together. (And no, these sales don't include the downloaded freebies.) Amazon has also said its sales of Kindles have tripled since the price was cut from $259 to $189. (B&N's price drop of their Nook may be the best thing that happened to Kindle, as Amazon had to follow suit.)
Most recently Markus Dohle, chief executive of Bertelsmann's Random House (world's biggest book publisher), said that current e-book revenue for the company is at 8% in the U.S. He's expecting electronic sales to top 10% of the company's revenue next year. Random House remains one publisher that has not yet agreed to sell its books on the iPad. Dohle isn't sure he likes the agency model of pricing.
Meanwhile, listening to my author friends talk about e-books leads me to think many of them are nervous about what e-books are going to do to the publishing industry in general, and their own sales in particular. Without going into specifics I can say this: e-book sales have been very good to me. I see them as very positive. And I earn at least an equal--many times better--royalty on each e-book than I do on my trade paperbacks. I have no complaints. Besides, e-books aren't returned like paperbacks. One of the most distressing things is to read the royalty statement six months after a release and see the books that were returned. Never fun. Not with e-books. I say bring 'em on!