Print is dying: E-readers start slaughtering print book sales (infographic)

Kindle fire
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Kindle fireIf you believe in karma, it should come as no surprise that e-readers are slowly killing off print books — perhaps in retaliation for all those trees murdered over the years.

With the launch of Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Kindle Touch and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet just days away, it’s cleear that e-readers are becoming must-have devices. E-reader and tablets have seen massive growth in adoption in the past year. A recent Pew Internet Project report said e-reader adoption doubled in the U.S. from 6 percent in November 2010 to 12 percent in May 2011. With more variety of devices and better price points (especially the bottom-of-the-barrel $79 Amazon Kindle), more folks will buy these devices impulsively.

The biggest e-reader/tablet hybrid release this year will be the Kindle Fire, which launches Nov. 15 and runs for a crazy-low $199. It could sell as many as 5 million units this holiday season and features a 7-inch screen with 1024 x 600 resolution, TI OMAP4 dual-core processor and 8GB of on-board storage. The Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet will also play a part this holiday with its $249 e-reader/tablet that features a 7-inch screen, 1.3-GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage.

One of the more interesting aspects of e-reader and tablet adoption is seeing how publishers transition from print to digital. E-book sales as a whole for book publishing are still minuscule compared to print, but e-books are becoming more popular. In 2009, e-book sales accounted for 3.2% of the industry’s sales, but in 2010, they accounted for a much larger 8.3% percent. Forrester Research thinks e-books could reach $3 billion by 2015, compared to $441 million in 2010.

Because e-books almost always cost less than their print counterparts, there’s a serious risk that publishers will lose a ton of revenues. But similar to app developers for smartphones, if more people are willing to buy e-books for their e-readers and tablets, publishers could generate comparable (or even greater) revenues.

Take a look at the full infographic below, created by RetailMeNot, for more on how e-readers are changing the publishing landscape: