2010: 'The Year of the Book'


In this Drive to Discover report, Richard Hart takes a looks at "firsts" that occurred during the past year in mobile phones and set top boxes as well as ebooks.

In January of this year, analysts reported that for the first time, more people watched streaming movies from Netflix than DVD movies from Netflix. The other shoe could drop this coming January. Netflix watcher Feed Fliks writes, "It is likely that 2010 will go down as the first year when Netflix's DVD shipments will begin to plateau."

One consequence is that Netflix movies surpassed 20 percent of Internet traffic during primetime hours. There is hope for quality video though. This was the first year when DVD players lost market share to Blu-ray players.

In 2010, for the first time, Amazon sold more ebooks for its Kindle ereader than it sold books in hardcover. The coming year will see ebooks outpace books in paperback too. Despite this revolution, the American Publishers Association reports that hardcover book sales increased 22 percent during the outgoing year. You and I are reading more than ever.

Digital camera shipments from Japan fell almost 4 percent in October from a year earlier, which some attribute to a related trend: more photographs taken with phones than with cameras. A Nokia executive told Reuters News in 2010 that, "Soon, mobile phone cameras will replace conventional cameras."

Finally, the New York Yankees became the first professional sports team to ban iPads at Yankee Stadium during a game. They say it was for security reasons. Also in 2010, for the first time, more women than men received doctoral degrees. (The Council of Graduate Schools says that men still earn nearly 80 percent of engineering doctorates.)

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