e-book gadgets help popularise literary classics

Kindles were the biggest selling products this Christmas, Amazon affirmed, as Britain finally embraced the ebook revolution.

Owners of ebook gadgets like the Kindle and the Apple iPad can snap up the works of many dead literary greats without paying a penny because they are out of copyright, reports the Telegraph.

Coupled with the proliferation of these devices, titles such as "Pride and Prejudice" and "Treasure Island" have shot to the top of the ebook charts.

The most popular e-books over the Christmas period were Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes", Charles Dickens’s "A Christmas Carol" and Bram Stoker’s "Dracula".

Even Homer’s "The Iliad" made it into Amazon’s top 20 of free Kindle ebooks last week. Amazon revealed that its 109 pounds Kindle devices were the online retailer’s biggest selling products this Christmas.

John Sutherland, emeritus professor of English at the University College London, described the phenomenon as “the saviour of book reading”.

“We are now creating an immense public library without walls,” he said. Random House publishers, whose authors include Ian McEwan, Bill Bryson and Joanna Trollope, reported an 800 percent rise in ebook sales this year.

Current estimates suggest ebook sales account for two percent of the book market, however, the figure is expected to jump sharply next year.

The arrival of Google’s ebookstore, potentially making millions of literary works available online, is hoped to have a large impact on ebook sales.

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