1. The economy. The economy is in the tank, and people are looking to cut costs any way they can. An Amazon Kindle pays for itself after the purchase of 20 or 30 books, then starts paying dividends. You save big on books, magazines and newspapers. These savings will grow even more attractive as the recession deepens.
People have already found a way to economize.
- "Libraries many benefits rediscovered in hard economic times". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1/22/2009
- "Folks Are Flocking to the Library, a Cozy Place to Look for a Job". Wall Street Journal, 1/15/2009
- "Library use up with economy drop." Racine Journal Times, 1/4/2009.
- "More residents check out library to save money". Rockford Register Star, 1/3/2009.
- "As economy goes down, traffic at the library goes up." Wisconsin State Journal, 1/1/2009.
- "As economy dips, Fox Valley libraries have 'banner year'". Fond du Lac Reporter (et al.), 12/28/2008
- "Libraries an information refuge in tough times". Wausau Daily Herald, 12/13/2008.
- "Library use rises as economy slows". Eau Claire Leader Telegram, 12/4/2008.
2. The environment. Interest in protecting the environment just keeps growing and growing. The idea of getting a daily newspaper or a weekly or monthly magazine on paper seems incredibly wasteful to the point of decadence. Environmental consciousness will drive e-book acceptance.
Funny how some issues tank in tough times.
Link to January 22, 2009, New York Times article, "Environmental Issues Slide in Poll of Public’s Concerns". Excerpt: In the poll, released Thursday by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, global warming came in last among 20 voter concerns; it trailed issues like addressing moral decline and decreasing the influence of lobbyists.
3. A publishing revolution. The book publishing industry is one of the most backward, musty, obsolete businesses in our economy. While every other kind of information moves at the speed of light, the process of publishing a book is like something from the Middle Ages.
We don't always travel from point A to point B in a straight line.
Link to January 27, 2009, New York Times article, "Self-Publishers Flourish as Writers Pay the Tab". Excerpt: As traditional publishers look to prune their booklists and rely increasingly on blockbuster best sellers, self-publishing companies are ramping up their title counts and making money on books that sell as few as five copies, in part because the author, rather than the publisher, pays for things like cover design and printing costs.
4. The rise in aggressive e-book marketing. Like the move from silent pictures to "talkies," the transition to electronic publishing will prove fatal to laggards. Those aggressively pursuing and developing e-books will rise to take control of the publishing industry. Part of this revolution will happen in e-book marketing.
Where's Yogi Berra when you need him. It's deja vu all over again.
Link to May 23, 2000 cnet post, "E-book business gets boost from Microsoft, Time Warner deals". Excerpt: Time Warner today unveiled a venture aimed at online publishing, becoming one of the first traditional publishers to make an aggressive move into the young market.
5. A rise in books written for electronic reading. The shift from print to electronic will change the nature of the book itself. Many books will be shorter. They'll be more timely and culturally relevant. They'll be more colorfully and engagingly written. And they'll go after young readers like nothing before.
People, it's a proven fact. We can walk and chew gum at the same time.
"In So Many Words: How Technology Reshapes the Reading Habit", by Rebecca Piirto Heath, American Demographics, March 1997.
Excerpt: Reading today is the most versatile of habits, encompassing all of the above. It is just as successful when it involves fonts dancing across a computer screen as it is with handset type on the brittle pages of a 300-year-old book. Despite pundits' dire predictions that the advent of computers and video would mean the demise of reading, it has yet to happen. "Media is not a zero sum game," says Paul Saffo, a director of the Institute for the Future in Menlo Park, California. "Just because a new medium arrives doesn't mean an old medium dies out. We still have writing in an age of word processing, we still have reading in an age of video. That will continue, but the nature of reading will change as it has changed all along."
6. The decline of the newspaper industry. And, finally, the newspaper industry is dying. The old method of physically delivering blog entries on dead tree pulp is obsolete. It's very simple. Newspapers that embrace e-books will survive. Those that don't, won't.
Walk and chew gum simultaneously. Re-read Paul Saffo quote.
Link to January 29 emarketer post, "Traditional Media Use Stabilizes as Online Rises".