Monday, April 12, 2010

How I Know The Tipping Point For eBooks Is Here Or Very Near

STATUS: Two contracts to wrap up and 270 emails to go in the inbox. Feeling significantly better after a lot of rest this weekend. Kristin--7 Flu--3

What’s playing on the iPod right now? NEED YOU TONIGHT by INXS

As you folks know, I’ve been on planes quite a bit in the past month. And here is how I know that the tipping point is potentially here (or near) where eBooks are concerned.

On one leg of my trip, I sat next to a 60+ grandmother (by her own admission) who saw me reading on my Kindle.

Grandmother: “That’s a new eReader, isn’t it? Where did you get that?”

Me: “This particularly eReader is called a Kindle and I bought it through Amazon but Sony and BN and a couple of other companies sell eReaders as well. You can buy them online at Amazon or go into Best Buy etc.” [For the record, I do try and promote equal opportunity purchases for electronic readers! I even mentioned the iPad.]

Her: “I read at least 3 novels a week! I’d love not to have to carry all these books around. I’m going on a cruise this week. [Leaning over to look at the text on my Kindle] Looks like you can up the font on that.” I gotta get me one of those.”

Me: “Yes, you can change the font size.”

Her: “That does it. I’m asking for it for my birthday and Mother’s day combined. If my children can buy a $200 game program for my grandkids, they can buy me one of those.”

In chatting with her a bit more, this grandmother was from Pueblo, Colorado—a smaller but good-sized town in South Colorado. Probably not too far off the core of “middle America.”

When I’ve got an older grandmother expressing unabashed enthusiasm in owning an eReader, I can’t help but think the tipping point is near—even if current electronic sales only equal about 2% of the market right now (statistic via a recent PW article).

I think a lot of us assumed the older generation would be the luddites where this new technology is concerned but through my anecdotal experiences, I’m not finding that to be true…