In 1993 Zahur Klemath Zapata developed the first software to read digital books. Digital Book v.1 and the first digital book is published ON MURDER CONSIDERED AS ONE OF THE FINE ARTS, by Thomas De Quincey
The latest report out by Forrester Research predicts that ebook sales will reach$966 million in 2010 and that by 2011, the amount will be $1 billion. In 2009, ebook sales were $169.5 million, a small portion of the $35Billion publishing industry. Forrester reports that as people get the hang of reading ebooks, they shift their book-buying from hardcover or paperback to ebooks.
James McQuivey of Forrester states that "the average eBook reader already consumes 41% of books in digital form." Those who've taken the plunge and gotten a Kindle or other ereader have an even higher percentage: 2 out of 3 books they read are ebooks. Amazon illustrated this in their announcement that in its spring quarter it sold 143 for every 100 hardcover books. Forrester found that only 7% of online adults who read books read ebooks, highlighting that there is room for growth.
The question for publishing is whether ebook sales will simply cannibalize current hardcover and paperback sales, or whether there might be a windfall of converting formats. If people who have the paperback edition of "Twilight" buy it again as an ebook, publishing will profit. But if they skip it, and instead choose to buy Stephenie Meyer's next novel as an ebook instead of getting the hardcover, the bottom line shrinks and that billion looks less promising...