Thanks to Amazon's dominance, it's easy to forget that traditional bookseller Barnes & Noble (B&N) has managed to build a decent digital portfolio of its own.
In the past, that has sparked speculation that B&N would eventually spin off its NOOK division, freeing its digital business from the baggage of its brick-and-mortar business.
According to new research from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 21% of American adults have read an e-book in the past year. In mid-December, that number stood at 17%.
Chalk that increase up to the rise of affordable e-readers and tablets, like the Kindle Fire and NOOK Tablet, which many Americans received as gifts this past holiday season.
Compared to the digital doldrums some traditional media companies, such as record labels, have found (and put) themselves in the past years, times look relatively good for book publishers.
At least that's the way it appears if you look at the January 2012 figures published by the Association of American Publishers (AAP), which includes data from over 1,000 book publishers.
Amazon's Kindle e-reader may be one of the most popular e-readers, but the company's long-term position in the market is far from certain.
On one flank, the Kindle competes with the most popular tablet device, the iPad, and on the other, competitors like Barnes & Noble have built more sophisticated devices like the NOOK Color.
So Amazon is rumored to be responding later this week with a new version of the Kindle that's more like the iPad and NOOK Color.
Dubbed the Kindle Fire, it will reportedly feature a 7" backlit display, books (of course), plenty of magazine subscriptions, and apps to boot.
As publishers and new media companies try to tap into the potential offered by the iPad, many have decided that offering richer, multimedia-laden experiences is the way to go.
Take Push Pop Press, for instance. Its vision for tablet publications: turn them into interactive applications. Its centerpiece, Al Gore's Our Choice interactive e-book, was heralded as "one of the most...impressive apps you've ever seen."
Stories about the decline of print publishing often focus on newspapers
and magazines, but following new data released by the Association of
American Publishers last week, we might soon be hearing more than more
about the decline of print book publishing.
According to the Association, e-books sales recently achieved a notable
milestone: they are now selling at a faster clip than hardcovers, trade
paperbacks and mass market paperbacks individually.
Barnes & Noble has high hopes for its new e-book reader, the NOOK Color. Described by some as half e-reader, half-tablet, the $250 device, which runs on Google's Android operating system, has been sold an estimated 3m times since its debut last November.
Now, B&N is eager to develop a strong developer ecosystem. The retailer has launched a NOOK SDK 1.0 and a shiny new NOOK Developer website which invites developers to "change the future of reading" with B&N.
For many industries, digital technology is both destroyer and savior. Take the newspaper and music industries, for instance. The internet is frequently blamed for their demise, yet new technologies are also expected by many to help save them.
When it comes to how digital is killing and saving established industries, book publishing may not grab the most headlines, but it is arguably one of the most affected.
Does giving away free product lead to more sales? Many argue that, online, it does. But there are an equal number of skeptics. So who is right?
When it comes to how free e-books influence print sales, a study published in the Winter 2010 edition of the Journal of Electronic Publishing concluded that giving away free e-books is often good for business, at least in the short-term.
Book publishers, like record labels before them, are struggling to
adapt to the digital world. And their struggles are only growing larger
thanks to the growing e-book market, where a price war has broken out.
The price war, which has driven down the cost of e-book bestsellers, is
of concern to book publishers for several big reasons, a primary one being that low-priced e-books
could potentially devalue their physical counterparts.