seriously asking this question today, the answer is obviously a resounding "no." There can be no doubt that The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown's sequel to the immensely popular Da Vinci Code, will sell extremely well on the Kindle and may easily turn out to be the bestselling fiction title on the Kindle of all time. The fact that the Kindle edition is currently outselling the hardcover edition on Amazon hints at some of the advantages eBooks have over regular books, but there can be no doubt that the paper editions of The Lost Symbol will easily outsell the eBook version.Even though some people are
Instant Delivery vs. Pre-Orders
It's almost ludicrous to argue that the eBook edition of The Lost Symbol could outsell the hardcover edition. Yes, the eBook version is currently outselling the hardcover version on Amazon. However, with 5 million copies of the hardcover version printed for the U.S. market alone, these numbers simply won't hold, especially because this is a book that will draw in a lot of readers who don't usually pick up hardcover books and don't usually buy books from Amazon but pick them up at their local Barnes & Noble, airport bookstore, or grocery store.
It's also worth noting that Amazon had been accepting pre-orders for the book for months - indeed, the pre-orders kept The Lost Symbol in Amazon's Top 100 for the last 150 days. If you own a Kindle, however, you don't need to pre-order the book as it's immediately delivered to your device anyway. Chances are that there was simply a lot of demand for the Kindle version today and most of Dan Brown's fans without a Kindle had already ordered theirs or planned to pick a copy up at a brick-and-mortar bookstore.
A Symbol of Things to Come?
That said, though, the fact that the eBook version is doing so well shows that eReaders and eBooks are on the right track. The real killer feature, here, is the instant delivery that eBooks can offer and the cheaper price (which Amazon currently subsidizes). Sure, you could leave the house and actually walk or drive to a local bookstore, but you could also get it delivered to your eReader within seconds and without ever having to get out of your pajamas. It would also be interesting to see how many of these copies end up on iPhones, but Amazon doesn't publish these numbers.
We did, however, get some interesting data from ShortCovers, a small but interesting eBook vendor who sells books in the ePub format and offers a number of mobile apps as well. For ShortCovers, the release of The Lost Symbol meant a 2x increase in sales yesterday and the book sold more copies in one day than the Twilight series did in the last 2 months.
The demand for eBooks is picking up and is starting to reach a mainstream audience. Once the new eReaders from Plastic Logic, iRex, Asus, Sony and others become available in the next few months, the increased competition will surely drive prices for eReaders down and adoption rates up - unless, of course, Steve Jobs' prediction that nobody wants a single-purpose eReader device turns out to be right.