Sales of electronic books jumped 68.4 percent last year and skyrocketed 177 percent to $96.6 million for the year through August, according to the Association of American Publishers. That's not counting the millions downloaded for free at public libraries, where e-books are fast becoming one of the most popular features. And Amazon has said that its e-book reader, the Kindle, has become the best-selling product on its Web site.
"To me, it's just inevitable," says Haber, who knew printed books were goners when people told him they liked to touch and feel them. "I heard the same thing from LPs and CDs. The mass market, they want convenience and experience."
Amazon executives have made near-instantaneous content a company goal. The latest Kindle, which began shipping last month, holds 1,500 titles and can wirelessly download books in 60 seconds. The company envisions a day when any book ever printed in any language can be downloaded in one minute.
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