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E-books vs. Traditional Books [Infographic]

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Amazon recently announced that its June 2010 Kindle e-book sales nearly doubled its hardcover book sales (180% higher). Many of those e-books were self-published books priced under a dollar; however, data indicates e-books may become the dominant long-form format in not too many years.

Are low-overhead e-books better for authors or publishers than their print counterparts? This infographic shows the breakdown of where the dollars from e-book and traditional book sales are going:


(Sources: PrintingChoice, NYTimes)

Forrester Research says retailers will sell 6.6 million e-readers this year. Apple has already sold 3 million iPads, which are capable of reading Amazon Kindle e-books as well as Apple's iBooks. At average prices, one would need to buy 15 e-books to offset the $189 pricetag of a Kindle, 12 e-books to pay off a $149 Barnes and Noble Nook, and 39 e-books to justify a $499 entry-level iPad (assuming price is the only factor).

E-books are up 200% from last year, according to the Association of American Publishers; however, they still only represent 3-5% of total sales for publishers, accordint to the New York Times.

Hardcover books are also up 40% since last year, indicating that while e-books are undoubtedly a big part of the future of long-form publishing, people will still be turning paper pages for a while.

Shane Snow is a writer and web entrepreneur in New York City. A graduate of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Shane has written for Wired, Mashable, Gizmodo, and Fast Company. He runs the online printing site and draws financial infographics for