The e-book market is a growing one, and with the emergence of the iPad – a recent survey said 41% of tablet owners preferred reading on their Apple gadget to the printed medium – alongside a cheaper Amazon Kindle, that growth is being spurred on.
It also seems that even classic reference works such as the Oxford English Dictionary are now under threat from comprehensive online resources.
Sales of the printed OED have fallen considerably due to people accessing online websites to look up words like “neologism”. Or indeed neologisms themselves, or simply to have a gander at rude words and snigger at the prudish definitions.
The Express reports that the next edition of the OED may only appear online, and not in leather-bound hard-copy format.
Nigel Portwood, the head honcho at the Oxford University Press, told the paper: “The print dictionary market is disappearing, it is falling by tens of per cent a year.”
He added that the latest edition would be printed if there was enough demand demonstrated by the public. However, when asked directly if he thought it would be printed, Portwood told the Sunday Times that he didn’t think so.
The rise of the e-book, and indeed the reference website, now seems inescapable. A couple of months back, Sony declared that the e-book market would eclipse the printed book inside five years.
And Amazon has already reported that e-book sales on the Kindle have overtaken hardback book sales on the site, by almost 50%.