What you can’t do is buy it for download to your e-reader or your tablet, or as an audio file for your mp3 player. When “The Go-Between’’ was last republished, no one was selling books in those formats. As far as reading goes, 2002 is a foreign country; we do things differently now.
We’ve been sailing toward this country for some time, but in 2011, we arrived. Last year, the publishers surveyed by the Association of American Publishers saw 8.3 percent of domestic net sales from e-books. Three months into this year, Simon and Schuster’s e-book sales had climbed to 17 percent of revenue; at Hachette, parent company of Little, Brown, the figure was 22 percent. From November to May, according to a Pew Internet Project study, the percentage of American adults with a dedicated e-reader (like a Nook or Kindle) leaped from 6 percent to 12 percent. Another 8 percent now have tablets. To add a little context, fewer than half of Americans even buy a book in a typical year. So for 12 percent of all Americans to have an e-reader is not trivial.
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