Ebook publishing hit media headlines on Friday, October 24, 2008 with Oprah Winfrey's endorsement of Amazon's Kindle.

From Forbes.com, David M. Ewalt writes:

Amazon.com's Kindle electronic book reader has been on the market for almost a year now, and by most accounts has been a pretty successful product. But the gizmo is about to get a major sales bump, thanks to an endorsement from Oprah Winfrey.

On her October 24th show, Oprah unveiled the Kindle as her "new favorite gadget," calling the reader "life changing," the "most amazing thing," and "the wave of the future." Amazon has posted a video teasing the show on the front page of their site; you can also see it here.

It's impossible to say what a recommendation from Oprah could mean for the device, but the star's recommendations have proven hugely influential in the book world. When Oprah picks a title for the regular book club feature of her show, it sends sales soaring... It's clear Oprah's endorsement will help Amazon this holiday season...

As one of the pioneers of digital publishing (print on demand and ebook publishing) and as the founder of Dandelion Books, an online publishing company that built its first website in 2000, Oprah's endorsement of Kindle is the energy boost the industry was waiting for.

As soon as Kindle came on the market, I bought one. The next day I was converting Dandelion's titles to Kindle and setting them up for sale.

From all over the globe, the community of Dandelion Books supporters phoned or emailed me about Oprah's Kindle endorsement. They know how important it is to have a celebrity book lover support ebook publishing innovations. Amazon's Kindle is hot--and it should be.

Frankfurt Book Fair Reports

Adding to the excitement are recent reports from the October Frankfurt Book Fair:

eBook Publishing Trends: 70% Ready to Go Digital
By Marisa Peacock Oct 15 (2008)

The Frankfurt Book Fair is a popular global book extravaganza that not only sells books, but also serves as a cultural interchange across national borders. This year, while bookworming their way around the aisles, the organizers conducted a survey designed to figure out if the digitization has begun to influence the publishing industry, as well as who might be the driving force behind it.

Over 1,000 industry professionals from over 30 countries responded to the survey.

Ready for the Digital Age

As e-readers begin to revolutionize the book industry, 70% of respondents indicated that they felt ready for digital age, though many are skeptical that the digital age will adopt the e-reader and other related technologies over the printed word. Should e-content reign supremely, survey participants may need to pick up the slack, as almost 60% of respondents indicated that they don’t currently use e-books and e-readers at all.


At Frankfurt, Many Say Digital Will Take Over Print Books by 2018
Andrew Albanese -- Library Journal, 10/22/2008

40 percent predict digital will rule by 2018
Only seven percent say publishers "driving" digitization efforts
50 percent say users will pay for online content

(This article first appeared in the October 21 issue of the LJ Academic Newswire.)

Well, Gutenberg, it was a good run. But according to some 40 percent of 1000 industry professionals who participated in a brief survey at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair, issued via the Frankfurt Book Fair Newsletter, digital content will overtake traditional printed book sales by 2018. This is remarkable, given that ebook sales currently account for just a sliver of the estimated $25 billion book market. But, not so fast—some 33 percent of respondents said digital content would never surpass traditional books sales.

That finding was one of many to reveal a divide over how—and how quickly—digitization will affect the book industry. Another apparent disconnect: some 70 percent of respondents said they felt they were ready for the digital future, but almost 60 percent of respondents said they do not currently use ebooks and e-readers at all. Some 66 percent of industry professionals, meanwhile, said they expect traditional books to dominate the market for the next decade.

Amazon, Google

Of course, this is the Internet we’re talking about and, as we’ve seen with things like the e-journal, attitudes can shift very quickly. While in the near-term, professionals were divided over when the tipping point will come, they agreed that consumer attitudes will continue to evolve, with over 50 percent of respondents saying that Internet users would be “more willing” to pay for digital content in five years time than they are now.

The Frankfurt Book Fair, held in Germany, is the biggest book fair in the world. This year it drew nearly 300,000 attendees, including more than 7000 exhibitors from over 100 countries—fertile ground for drawing opinions on the industry.

Another interesting survey finding, meanwhile, suggested that the fate of the book was out of publishers’ hands. When asked who was “driving the move towards digitization in the book industry," only seven percent felt that publishers were leading the way. Some 22 percent said consumers were in charge, followed closely by e-retailer Amazon.com (21 percent), Google (20 percent), and the telecommunications sector (13 percent). Only two percent felt that authors were driving this aspect of the industry.

Job threat?

Respondents agreed that the industry faced some serious challenges to realizing the full potential of digitization, including copyright (28 percent) and Digital Rights Management (22 percent) issues, and adopting universal standards (21 percent). Some 26 percent of respondents said they needed a better base of “knowledge and strategy,” including market research and understanding and developing new business models. However, respondents said digitization also offered up potential new fields of cooperation, with 22 percent seeing “mobile handset manufacturers and networks,” as the most important future partners. Somewhat surprisingly, only 13 percent thought that the gaming industry was an important future collaborator.

The survey offered some potentially gloomy news for certain sectors of the industry. While 39 percent of respondents agreed that online bookselling was the most important industry development in the 60-year history of the fair, some 25 percent forecasted that the traditional retail bookseller would be obsolete in the next 60 years; the literary agent (21 percent) and the editor (14 percent) also were said to be facing a slow demise.

For more information about ebook publishing, contact Carol Adler, SelfGrowth.com's Official Guide to Publishing Expert.

Author's Bio: 

Carol Adler, MFA’s first ghost-written book listing her name as co-editor, Why Am I Still Addicted? A Holistic Approach to Recovery, was endorsed by Deepak Chopra, M.D., and published by McGraw-Hill. Other publications include three novels, four books of poetry, and well over 200 poems in literary journals. She has ghostwritten over 40 non-fiction and fiction works for a number of professionals in the education, health care and human potential industries.

Carol is President of Dandelion Books, LLC of Tempe, Arizona; a full service publishing company. She is also President and CEO of Dandelion Enterprises, Inc., Write to Publish for Profit and President of the International Arts & Media Foundation, a non-profit subsidiary of Dandelion Enterprises, Inc.

Her business experience includes co-ownership of a Palm Beach, FL public relations company and executive management positions in two U.S. rejuvenation and mind/body wellness corporations, for which she founded publishing divisions.

Carol has served as editor of several poetry and literary magazines. Her career experience includes extensive teaching of college-level creative and business writing, and conducting of writing workshops in prisons, libraries, elementary, junior and high schools, and senior citizen centers.

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