The current issue of Writer's Digest has a series of articles on the future of books. The most interesting piece of this is the statistics on e-books, and specifically on Amazon's e-reader, the Kindle. This nifty little device, which I would love to own, is a big improvement over previous e-readers: It's not back-lit, uses cell-phone technology for direct purchases and downloads of material, has access to most current best-sellers, and can receive periodicals like The New York Times automatically every morning. Since it launched in late 2007, books for the Kindle have mounted to where they constitute more than 6% of Amazon's sales.
Overall, according to the Association of American Publishers, e-books have shown a 56% growth rate since 2002. In 2007, they netted $67.2 million.
Nobody thinks books will become obsolete (well, almost nobody). But Amazon and the Kindle are there first, and most. Paul Aiken, executive director of the Author's Guild, points out that "such dominant systems can be hard to dislodge" (just look at MicroSoft). There are over 180,000 titles available for the Kindle. Fourteen of them are mine, including thirteen stories and one book, the Nebula anthology which I edited (which is also short stories). Why none of my novels? I don't know, but today I'm going to ask my agent.