Riding on Washington, DC’s Metrorail subway system these days, one sees more electronic devices in hand than print books (the same is true when I was in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and across the country). This reflects the revolution going on in the publishing industry nationwide with the astonishing growth of ebooks.
Image: Digital and print readers on the New York City subway. Courtesy: “corners311” on Reddit.
According to Publisher’s Weekly, Bowker Market Research found that for the first half of 2013, e-book sales in the United States accounted for 14% of consumer dollars spent and 30% of all the units sold of any format of books.
The Rumors of [Print’s] Death are Greatly Exaggerated
However, print is far from dead. In fact, hardcover book sales in the U.S. were up over 10% through the first eight months of 2013, according to the latest numbers from the Association of American Publishers. And many users still prefer print for reference and textbooks.
Image: Infographic of the benefits of both ebooks and print books. Courtesy: Coupon Audit and Self Publishing Review.
When media research firm Voxburner questioned sixteen to 24-year-olds about their preferences for physical products versus digital content, printed books jump out as the media most desired in material form, ahead of movies (48%), newspapers and magazines (47%), CDs (32%), and video games (31%).
The two big reasons for preferring print are value for money and an emotional connection to physical books. On questions of ebook pricing, 28% think that ebooks should be half their current price, while just 8% say that ebook pricing is right. The top-rated reasons for preferring physical to digital products were: “I like to hold the product” (51%), “I am not restricted to a particular device” (20%), and “I can easily share it” (10%).
U.S. Government Bookstore Makes eBooks Easy
Image: U.S. Government Online Bookstore’s eBooks section.
Fortunately, the U.S. Federal Government addresses these issues with our new downloadable eBooks, as we launched our new eBooks section.
- Not Restricted: All eBooks on the U.S. Government Bookstore website are non-proprietary. They are not restricted to a particular device or manufacturer, assuming the correct format is chosen. (See below for an explanation of ePub, Mobi, and PDF formats).
- Easily shared: The eBooks on the U.S. Government Bookstore are DRM-free (Digital Rights Management) eBooks, meaning once you own a title, you can share it.
- Economical Pricing: Many eBooks on our website are free, and others are very reasonably priced, with the unlimited downloads and sharing.
- Multiple Formats: For those who still “want to hold a product,” many of our titles are offered in print or eBook format, with users often buying both.
- Third Party Channels: To expand the availability, GPO has set up partnerships to make these eBooks available on many of the top online retail and library channels such as BarnesandNoble.com, Apple iBookstore, Google Play, Overdrive (for libraries).
To EPUB or MOBI, that is the question
Readers need to select the correct eBook format for their devices. PDFs work best on computers or if you want to print, since they are really like photocopies of a page. Text is not reflowable, meaning it is fixed on the page and does not automatically readjust if you want to change the font size or turn your device sideways.
For most users, EPUB format is the best, since it is the industry standard of most publishers and libraries. EPUB format eBooks can be used on most eReader devices like the Barnes & Noble Nook or Apple iPad, as well as on computers with free eReader software like Adobe Digital Editions.
If you want to read the eBook on an Amazon Kindle, you need to choose MOBI format eBooks.
On all of these eBooks on the U.S. Government Bookstore, you will need to side-load them onto your device, by downloading them and copying them to the particular device.
For more information about this, read our page on eBook Readers and Digital File Formats on the U.S. Government Online Bookstore website.
New and Newsworthy eBooks from the U.S. Government
Here are a few of the new and newsworthy DRM-free eBooks currently on the U.S. Government Bookstore to build your own online library of free and inexpensive ebooks:
Ponzimonium: How Scam Artists Are Ripping Off America (ePub eBook) Terrific book about Ponzi schemes and other investment fraud, the con artists who got caught, and how consumers can avoid these scams.
FAA NextGen Implementation Plan (ePub eBook) Provides a roadmap of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) transition to the next generation of smarter, satellite-based and digital technologies and new procedures to make air travel more convenient, predictable and environmentally friendly.
A Basic Guide to Exporting: The Official Government Resource for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses 10th Revised edition (ePub eBook)
For more than 70 years, A Basic Guide to Exporting has been the resource that businesses have turned to for answers to their questions
about how to establish and grow overseas markets for their products and services. Whether your firm is new to exporting or in need of a refresher on the latest ideas and techniques, this comprehensive guide, now
completely revised and updated, provides the nuts-and-bolts information you will need to meet the challenges of the world economy.
The U.S. is the world’s largest exporter of products and services, but a comparatively small percentage of businesses actually do it. The business owners that export find it lucrative, educational and endlessly fascinating as their work brings them into close contact with people and cultures worldwide. This book profiles 25 Americans who battled competitors, fear of the unknown, and personal adversity to build successful small businesses in the global marketplace.
The Children’s Bureau Legacy: Ensuring the Right to Childhood (ePub eBook) Comprehensive history of the Children’s Bureau from 1912-2012 in eBook format that shares the Bureau’s legacy of leadership and commitment to improving the safety, permanency and well-being of children, youth and families.
9/11 Commission Report (ePub eBook) Contains the final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (also known as the 9-11 Commission), an independent, bipartisan commission created by congressional legislation and the signature of President George W. Bush in late 2002. This edition has been designated as the only official U.S. Government edition of the 9-11 Commission’s Final Report. It provides a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, including preparedness for and the immediate response to the attacks. It also includes recommendations designed to guard against future attacks.
Wings in Orbit is an authoritative documentation of the many accomplishments of the NASA Space Shuttle Program. Starting with a foreword written by astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen, this compelling book provides accurate, authentic and easily understood accounts from NASA’s best subject matter experts and external resources. The book captures the passion of those who devoted their energies to the Program’s success for more than three decades. It focuses on their science and engineering accomplishments, the rich history of the program and the shuttle as an icon in U.S. history.
How can I obtain these eBooks?
- Shop Online: You can purchase these publications from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov by clicking on the links above in this blog post or clicking here to shop our eBooks collection.
- Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.
- Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.
- Visit a Federal Depository Library: Search for one of these publications in a nearby Federal depository library.
Federal Agencies: Interested in seeing your eBooks here?
If you are with a U.S. Federal Government agency and wish to see your print or digital publications made available on the U.S. Government Bookstore or need dissemination of your publications, contact us.
Click here to read about all Government Printing Office services for Federal agencies.
About the Authors: Government Book Talk Editor Michele Bartram is Promotions Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division in Washington, DC, and is responsible for online and offline marketing of the US Government Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov) and promoting Federal government content to the public. Stephanie Jaeger is Sales & Marketing Coordinator for GPO’s Sales & Marketing Division and is responsible for marketing GPO’s publishing services to the Federal sector.