Kindling our digital consumption

When the compact disc took a beating at the hands of the mighty MP3, many commentators noted that the digital revolution in music would soon be duplicated across other sectors in the entertainment industry. So much so, you could almost hear the humble paperback quaking on its shelf.

So, perhaps it’s no surprise to hear Amazon, the UK’s biggest book retailer, announce that their Kindle ebooks have now eclipsed sales of print books on their site. Sure, the news represents some great PR for Amazon’s own Kindle device (the book world’s answer to the iPod) but it also suggests that the long-predicted shift to digital could finally be taking shape in the publishing world.

Just as the sight of a record store becomes increasingly rare, the doom-mongers suggest this will spell the end for high-street and independent book stores. They’ve had their fair share of struggles already (a rise in e-commerce, changing consumer-trends) but whether they’ll be able to adapt their models to embrace customers’ new digital consumption remains to be seen.

Interestingly, however, Amazon suggests that the average Kindle owner buys four times more books than they did before owning the device. So whilst the trend could change the landscape of the sector, and the high-street for that matter, many are suggesting that our interaction with books has never been greater. And whether that’s a printed word, or one that sits on your screen, that can surely only be a positive thing.