To Kindle or Not to Kindle

Here’s my Hattiesburg American column published today:

AMAZON.COM’s Christmas Day 2009 Kindle book sales outpaced print sales for the first time (reported via Mashable.com). Likely driven by people filling up Kindles opened that day as gifts, the claim may not be terribly impressive, but it is an indication of just how much ebook sales escalated in 2009.

Ebooks will be even bigger in 2010 with Barnes & Noble’s Nook (Kindle competitor) taking off and a range of tablet computers with ebook applications set to be released. The rumored Apple tablet may even be among these 2010 debuts. If so, it will presumably spark the same frenzy of interest Apple products usually bring.

In 2009, I downloaded only three Kindle books, which I read on my iPhone. Meanwhile I downloaded 50 audio books and purchased a good many more print books. I haven’t quite made the switch yet.

I’m curious about what the new year will bring in the way of ebook gadgets and markets, but I’m more curious about the books themselves. With that in mind, here are a few titles I’m looking forward to in 2010.

“Drive” by Daniel Pink. This one actually has a release date of Dec. 29. That’s late enough to include with 2010. Daniel Pink is the author of “A Whole New Mind,” a book about the importance of creativity in the working world. His newest book is about what drives personal motivation and productivity in the workplace.

“Committed” by Elizabeth Gilbert. To be released on Jan. 5, this is a follow-up to Gilbert’s best-selling “Eat, Pray, Love.” I admired parts of “Eat, Pray, Love,” didn’t care for others. Overall I enjoyed it enough to want to read the sequel.

“The Swan Thieves” by Elizabeth Kostova. To be released on Jan. 12, “The Swan Thieves” is about a mentally ill artist, French Impressionism, obsession and love. Kostova, author of “The Historian,” a wonderful Dracula book full of lush descriptions and rich bits of both history and legend is bound to offer another book worth savoring.

“Solar” by Ian McEwan. Release date March 30. McEwan, author of “Atonement,” brings us this story of a Nobel physicist with a life in shambles and a renewed sense of personal and scientific purpose.

Now to Kindle or not to Kindle is the only question.