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12.03.2007

Don Imus and the Kindle

An interesting couple of weeks have passed since we last talked about the publishing industry. I was happy to see that Galleycat reported another solid month in terms of book sales. The post stated:

The Association of American Publishers released its latest figures on book sales: an increase of 5.7 percent for the month of September, and yearly sales maintaining their climb with an increase of 9.9 percent. The Harry Potter bubble is slowly receding; children's/YA hardcover was down 12.8 percent over August's numbers. But don't shed a tear just yet: The category still produced $87.1 million in sales, over $15 million more than adult mass market paperbacks, which are in decline 7.5 percent for the month and 6.3 percent for the year to date.

Also, I read today that the Great Cowboy Hat is back on the air at WABC-AM in New York. Imus put his foot in his mouth with his racist and sexist comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team, but his influence on book sales can't be disputed and I think his eight months off the air was satisfactory compensation for his comments. The true measure of his contrition will come in the months and years to follow as he and his new co-hosts tread into racially sensitive territory in discussing American culture.

And we have another venue through which to discuss books--one that many of the bibliophiles I know at the college sorely missed.

And finally, what do you guys make of the Kindle? I collect books and I love them. I enjoy having stacks of them around my office and at my home. I love to curl up with a paperback in bed or take a copy on an airplane. That said, I will eventually get an e-book reader. Maybe not a Kindle ($400!?), but when the price comes down and competition perfects the design and utility, I could see myself taking a portable media center with me just about everywhere.

I think it will have a solid impact, years down the road, on the price of college textbooks, and with some of the design I've noticed out there in the world of e-books I can't see much of a difference in the quality of the product. There will always be books, and for that I'm thankful, but I'm excited about where we are going with technology. I'm eager to see how this will impact the future of publishing, and I think most new and emerging authors should probably look at this as a positive for exposure.

What do you think? Will you buy a Kindle, and if so, why?

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