E-book Sales And Self-Publishing

E-books surged in popularity in 2011. Here, Jean-Louis Raynard, chairman of the board of Virgin Megastore France, poses with the Cybook Odyssey tablet (left) a French e-reader from Bookeen, and the Kindle tablet (right), developed by Amazon. i i

E-books surged in popularity in 2011. Here, Jean-Louis Raynard, chairman of the board of Virgin Megastore France, poses with the Cybook Odyssey tablet (left) a French e-reader from Bookeen, and the Kindle tablet (right), developed by Amazon. Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images
E-books surged in popularity in 2011. Here, Jean-Louis Raynard, chairman of the board of Virgin Megastore France, poses with the Cybook Odyssey tablet (left) a French e-reader from Bookeen, and the Kindle tablet (right), developed by Amazon.

E-books surged in popularity in 2011. Here, Jean-Louis Raynard, chairman of the board of Virgin Megastore France, poses with the Cybook Odyssey tablet (left) a French e-reader from Bookeen, and the Kindle tablet (right), developed by Amazon.

Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images

E-book sales, which have been skyrocketing in recent years, continued to soar in 2011. Alexandra Alter, reporter for The Wall Street Journal, says the arrival of newer and cheaper e-readers and tablet computers drove the boom. The shift to digital is transforming the publishing industry, Alter tells Talk of the Nation's Neal Conan, much like the way digital music players revolutionized the music industry.

Digital self-publishing also experienced a banner year, says Alter, due in part to the growing digital book market. A growing number of authors are now reaching readers directly through e-book retail outlets.

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