I absolutely may be wrong about the impact digital technology will have on books, but I think there's a lot of evidence to suggest that we are much closer to a digital music download is to CD change than a DVD is to Blu-Ray change.
I don't think digital downloads will end the existence of physical books, Kevin makes a great case for one example of why physical books will endure, but I do think that with the current, beyond precarious, financial state of the publishing industry, this kind of change, even if it isn't revolutionary, has the ability to tip it over the edge. It's kind of like the American auto industry. It's not that we don't still need cars, but over time it got to where our businesses that manufacturer cars can't actually operate profitably. (Same thing with airlines.)
The big change that is now happening with ebooks is in the distribution, which is what is, at last, putting them on par with digital music downloads. For the first time there is an intersection between the device people need to read the books (iPhone/iPod/Blackberry/Kindle/Sony e-reader) and the availability of books in electronic format. Digital downloads have eroded a huge chunk of the the CD market. I think digital books will do the same. It's the same phenomenon that's happening to physical newspapers. Now that the Internet delivers the content, the physical object is no longer necessary. This will increasingly become true of books as well.
Blu-Ray is just an "enhanced" DVD. You can still watch the movie on DVD, it just isn't as clear. For most books, the physical book is not an "enhancement" of a digital version. The content is the content. (The books where the physical object is an enhancement will continue to exist.) Blu-Ray is also twice the price of a DVD. A digital download of a hardcover book is about 1/3 of the list price. Same thing with mini-discs. They didn't work because they didn't change the dynamic of listening to music. You still had to carry a bunch of stuff around and you still had to buy both in a physical store. Digital files, on the other hand, changed the distribution model permanently.
Hey, I get what you're saying! (and full disclosure: I'm an FSG'er). But the title story of Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned is available for free download from the publisher's site (www.everythingravaged.com), along with links to other stories in the collection previously published elsewhere. Anyway, love reading the Tournament. Carry on.
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Since the first rumors about Apple's iPad began, analysts have said the tablet computer - with its full-color display, iBooks app, and user-friendly size - was likely to revolutionize the e-reader market. Apple is due to release the iPad in the US on April 3, then in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK by late April. IBooks will be offered in the US as a free download on April 3, according to Apple, and will be available in additional countries within the year. Amazon and Barnes & Noble are also due to release tablet applications around the time of the iPad launch. 2b1af7f3a8