It looks like literature finally had its Aha! moment, now that the book world is recognizing electronic reading as a viable publishing venture.
Yesterday, The New York Times announced it would begin publishing a best-seller list, perhaps the largest change to the Times’ book ranking rubric since it began in 1935. Earlier this year, the Association of American Publishers reported that e-book sales skyrocketed 207% in the first few months of 2010, while Amazon revealed that it now sells more e-books than it does hardcover copies. And while digital downloads make up more than 9% of book retail, sales figures have been largely ignored by lit-covering media. (USA Today is the only national publication that has listed e-books sales.)
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Now, the Times says its digital best-sellers list will be available in early 2011, including fiction and non-fiction electronic titles. With this modernization of the literary psyche, have e-books finally been validated by those who, at first, refused to admit e-readers would become a feasible method to reanimate the publishing world? Or, are purists just appeasing the digital community?
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