How Amazon has disrupted the book industry

Just over ten years ago, in November 2007, Amazon unleashed the Kindle. It has disrupted the book industry––publishers, authors, and readers––more than anything since the paperback. On Amazon’s own site, anyway, sales of ebooks surpassed print books in April 2011, less than four years after the Kindle’s debut. Five years ago, some people were wondering if printed books could survive the onslaught of ebooks. Since then, demand for printed books has been rising. Ebooks won’t go away, but neither will print. The Kindle Store now has close to 6 million ebook titles and accounts for more than 80% of all … Continue reading

Our ridiculous English spelling

Ridiculous English spelling confuses everyone. Even dictionaries and language experts get tripped up. Do you like to eat ghoti? In case you’re wondering what that means, consider gh as in enough o as in women ti as in nation To spell it a more normal way, fish. Fish and chips is fried ghoti and fried ghoughghteighpteaux. … Continue reading

Have we stopped reading? Becoming a post-literate society

Have we become such a post-literate society that it even extends to how we use libraries? I just read another tiresome puff piece about how the library isn’t obsolete. This one especially highlights how millennials (people ages 18-35) visit the library more than any other generation. But do they read? The article gives only passing notice to books. I don’t find “read” or related words anywhere in the article. … Continue reading

Major disruptions in the book publishing business

Ebook readers like Amazon’s Kindle roiled the book publishing business. Big time. Ebooks now outsell printed books. We can carry one device with dozens of books, and it weighs less than any one of them would in print. Major bookstore chains went belly up. But ebooks are hardly the first major disruption in book publishing. The printing press only came along about 700 years ago. It eventually put an end to the scriptoriums that had produced manuscript books for centuries. Printing put books in the hands of more readers than the scriptoriums ever could, but books remained relatively expensive well … Continue reading

Victory for Google Books, larger victory for the public

Have any of your Google searches turned up pages from a book? Google began to experiment with scanning books in 2002 and announced plans to establish a digital library, now known as Google Books, in 2004. The project quickly became mired in controversy as the Authors Guild, some individual authors, and several major publishers sued Google for copyright infringement. The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently upheld a 2013 district court ruling on Authors Guild v. Google that Google’s activities constitute fair use under copyright law. The Authors Guild plans to appeal to the Supreme Court. … Continue reading