Tablets and e-readers closing the book on ink-and-paper era

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Tablets and e-readers closing the book on ink-and-paper era

SAN FRANCISCO - Tablet computers and electronic readers promise to eventually close the book on the ink-and-paper era as they transform the way people browse magazines, check news and lose themselves in novels.

“It is only a matter of time before we stop killing trees and all publications become digital,” Creative Strategies president and principal analyst Tim Bajarin told AFP.

Retail giant Amazon made e-readers mainstream with Kindle devices and Apple ignited demand for tablets ideal for devouring online content ranging from films to magazines and books.

The combined momentum of e-readers and tablets will push annual revenue from digital books to $9.7 billion by the year 2016, more than tripling the $3.2 billion tally expected this year, according to a Juniper Research report.

Readers are showing increased loyalty to digital books, according to the U.S. Book Industry Study Group.

Nearly half of print book buyers who also got digital works said they would skip getting an ink-and-paper release by a favorite author if an electronic version could be had within three months, a BISG survey showed.

“The e-book market is developing very fast, with consumer attitudes and behaviors changing over the course of months, rather than years,” said BISG deputy executive director Angela Bole.

Concerns about e-book reading are diminishing, with people mainly wishing for lower prices, the survey said.

Owning e-readers tended to ramp up the amount of money people spent on titles in what BISG described as a promising sign for publishers.

“I’m among those who believe that the new e-book craze expands a person’s interest in reading overall,” said Gartner analyst Allen Weiner.

“When you can get someone excited about reading in any way, you turn on the reading ignition and it leads to all content,” Weiner said, adding that paper works will still hold a place in the mix.

Bajarin believes it will be a decade before print is obsolete. “For one thing, there is a generation of people above 45 who grew up with this reading format and for many this will remain the most comfortable way for them to consume content for quite a while,” he said.

“However, younger generations are already moving rapidly to digital representations of publications and, over time, they will be using e-books and tablets to consume all of their publications.”

Weiner expected hardback or paperback books to be preferred in some situations, such as home reading, even as digital dominates publishing.


AFP
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