By Ben Roberts
I was massively sceptical about ereading devices – well, until the geek in me took over and bought a Kindle! Since then, I feel like a weight has literally been lifted off my shoulders as I travel light with countless books on a single, slim device (ironically, I’m currently reading a hardback I was given for Christmas). Ereaders are simply allowing people to enjoy books more easily – you can even have your favourite novels read aloud to you in a human-sounding voice.
Given my own great experience and what I’ve heard from friends, I wasn’t too surprised to read that UK ebook sales have risen 20 percent to £180m. The growth in digital distribution has also seen an associated 3 percent fall in the volume of physical books sold. It seems that consumer, academic and professional readers are all now increasingly turning to digital consumption. Indeed, Richard Mollet, chief executive of the Publishers Association, says, "Academic and professional publishing, which embraced digital platforms over a decade ago, continues to lead the field. But now that technology is putting ereading devices into consumers' hands, we are starting to see the rapid growth of digital sales in this area too, as consumer publishers develop digital formats to reach wider audiences."
Undoubtedly there’s still a long way to go for the ereader, but with tablet devices achieving explosive success, smart phones running slick applications and Amazon and Apple delivering content relatively cheaply and simply, further success seems inevitable.
If you know of any good ebooks to add to my ereading list, or indeed what to do with an empty bookshelf – let me know @bnrbts