How e-Books Won the War

Years from now, when I tell the grandkids about this thing called print books, I’ll reference the past few days as the week e-books won the war. Momentum is rapidly pushing the dominant industry focus in book publishing and selling toward digital. In my weekly analysis over at GigaOM Pro, I highlight three major milestones from this week that point to the beginning of the end for the print book era: [digg=]

The $139 Kindle

The lower-priced, third-generation Kindle just took e-books mass-market. While the cool kids still want iPads for their multifunction capabilities, many of the entrenched readers just want the lower-priced e-reader from Amazon, which opens up an entirely new demographic to target.¬†Amazon’s move will force other companies and e-book manufacturers to be just as competitive (or go even lower) pricewise, so get ready for the $99 eReader.

The One Million e-Book Selling Author

Steig Larsson not only passed away before his trilogy about Lisbeth Salander hit the big time, he also missed out on becoming the Ashton Kutcher of e-books. This past week, he became the first author to reach one million e-book sales, an amazing number given just six months ago the installed base of Kindles was estimated at two million.

Barnes & Noble Goes on the Block

Perhaps the most symbolic event this week was Barnes & Noble “exploring strategic alternatives,” including putting itself on the block. When America’s most iconic bookstore is struggling to make it, this is not a good sign. As I say in my analysis, over the next few years we’ll see the “hammer of low-priced e-books steadily nail coffins shut across the book-retailing landscape.”

No doubt much of what happened this week was set in motion by the launch of Apple’s (s aapl) iPad, which threw gas on the e-book fire in a significant way. This confluence of signifying events has marked an irreversible transition toward digital publishing that will likely have a sad ending for those encumbered by legacy cost structures.

Read the full post here.

You may also be interested in attending our half-day GigaOM Pro bunker on August 25th, Disintermediation in Publishing. This bunker will look at the impact of digital publishing on traditional publishing and bookselling. If you are a GigaOM Pro subscriber, you may request a ticket here.