Paper books are winding down. We’ll have them around for a long time to come, but the kids going into college now are going to bring the future faster than you think

Joel West postulated these 3 reasons why Amazon will get out of the ebook business

  • Amazon‘s (AMZN) Achilles heel is the proprietary mobi format against everyone else’s e-pub, but if college students are using a book viewer for 4 years and renting books for one semester, this becomes almost a non-issue.
  • Moving from selling dead tree books (with printing costs and inventory risk) to renting e-books will reduce the publishers’ costs dramatically. If publishers don’t share those savings with consumers — given the student and politician outcry about textbook prices — there will be hell to pay. I suspect, however, that most will play games with planned obsolescence in hopes of keeping their margins up.
  • I doubt the e-book reader is a separate category over the long term. To me, it seems obvious that the e-reader will go the way of the pocket camera and the MP3 player as a dead-end stand-alone device.

I think it’s still early. We don’t know who will win the hardware wars

However, every author and publisher needs to look at how to profit from the move away from selling dead trees