More Readers Are Picking Up Electronic Books

Could book lovers finally be willing to switch from paper to pixels? Some could...but others, to quote the Times, "maintain an almost fetishistic devotion to the physical book".

According to the New York Times "the ebook is starting to take hold". Many Kindle buyers appear to be outside the usual gadget-hound demographic. Almost as many women as men are buying it, Mr. Hildick-Smith, president of the Codex group said, and the device is most popular among 55- to 64-year-olds. Codex is a book market research company.

Nobody knows how much consumer habits will shift. But the technology may have more appeal for particular kinds of people, like those who are the heaviest readers.

Perhaps the most overlooked boost to e-books this year — and a challenge to some of the standard thinking about them — came from Apple’s do-it-all gadget, the iPhone. Several e-book-reading programs have been created for the device, and at least two of them, Stanza from LexCycle and the eReader from Fictionwise, have been downloaded more than 600,000 times. Another company, Scroll Motion, announced this week that it would begin selling e-books for the iPhone from major publishers like Simon & Schuster, Random House and Penguin.

All of these companies say they are now tailoring their software for other kinds of smartphones, including BlackBerrys.

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