Wednesday, September 1, 2010

On the Side: Third edition of OED unlikely to appear in print format

Kindle Wireless Reading Device, Wi-Fi, 6" Display, Graphite - Latest Generation

This made the rounds yesterday but in case you missed it, from The Guardian: Third edition of OED unlikely to appear in print format:
Publishers of the Oxford English Dictionary have confirmed that the third edition may never appear in print. A team of 80 lexicographers began working on it following the publication of the second edition in 1989. It is 28% finished. In comments to a Sunday newspaper, Nigel Portwood, chief executive of Oxford University Press, which owns the dictionary, said: "The print dictionary market is just disappearing. It is falling away by tens of percent a year." Asked if he thought the third edition would appear in printed format, he said: "I don't think so." However, an OUP spokeswoman said no decision had been made.

"It is likely to be more than a decade before the full edition is published and a decision on format will be taken at that point," she said.

The Oxford English Dictionary already publishes revised and new entries online every three months, with a new version of its OED Online website due to be launched in December.
I would miss not having a permanent record of something on paper, but I hardly ever use a paperbound dictionary myself and have debated for the last few years if I even need to devote the shelf space to my reference books, practically blasphemous for a trained librarian and book lover.  However, I find I am using dictionaries more than ever before as I work and translate, just not in print.  So my usage is up and made even more convenient thanks to electronic resources. 

However, another recent article making the rounds, too, is Why E-readers Are Good for Books: People Read More by Mathew Ingram:

A recent survey found that 40 percent of those with e-readers said they were reading more books than they used to before they had the device, which is consistent with earlier data on e-reading habits. E-book sales climbed by more than 200 percent in the first six months of this year, according to the Association of American Publishers.

The survey by Marketing and Research Resources found that 58 percent of those with e-readers (including the Apple iPad, the Amazon Kindle and the Sony Reader) said they read about the same number of books as they did before, while 2 percent said they read fewer books. More than half of those surveyed said that they expected to use the device to read even more books in the future. While the survey was funded by Sony, other research has found a similar increase in book reading by e-reader owners. A study earlier this year by L.E.K. Consulting also found that almost half of those with e-readers were buying and reading more books, and Amazon has said that customers buy more than 3 times as many books after they buy a Kindle e-reader.

Interestingly enough, the L.E.K. survey found that 36 percent of the books read by people with e-readers were what it called “incremental consumption.” In other words, e-reader owners were reading new books, rather than books that the owner would otherwise have read in print. The global consulting group reported the findings in its second annual “Hidden Opportunities in New Media Survey” of more than 2,000 households. According to recent figures from Amazon, in the second quarter of this year the company sold 143 Kindle e-books for every 100 hardcover books sold.

And my stats are entirely the same--I am reading more with my Kindle than I ever did before and that didn't even seem to be humanly possible. I have books more accessible to me in more places for one thing. I don't worry about buying a book and where I will have to store it or give it away. I also can impulse buy faster and easier than ever before. And I do. Oh, I definitely do. I currently have over 1,500 ebook titles stored on my computer and/or Kindle. Yes, many were free, but I have paid for a goodly percentage, too. The older titles replaced books that were crumbling on my shelves which have gone on to other homes. I'm also choosier about my keeper books since I know many titles will be available to me electronically if I ever want them again.

Also, I tend to choose one of my ebooks to read before a paper copy so I have paper editions languishing on my shelves awaiting handling from me.

So reading isn't going away even if the format is changing.

And no one is more shocked at my own changes and approaches to reading than me.  Really.  The Kindle is perhaps the biggest life changer for me since I first accessed the internet sixteen or so years ago.

Interesting times, these are!

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