You might have read in the New York Times  last week (Thursday, August 12, 2010) how Pete Hamill is publishing his next book They Are Us, about immigration in the United States but not in print. No, his publisher is going  straight-to an e-book.

In the same day’s Times, this in the business section, had an article on Barnes & Noble, how they are retooling to stay relevant as e-books take off.

According to the Association of American Publishers in the first five months of 2009, e-books made up 2.9 percent of trade book sales. In the same period of 2010, sales of e-books, which generally cost less than hardcovers, grew to 8.5 percent. All of this is because of the new Apple iPad, Amazon Kindle, and the Nook devices.

What does this mean?

Well, Carolyn Reidy, the chief executive of Simon & Schuster, says that e-books make up about 8 percent of the company’s book revenue. She thinks it could go as high as 40 percent within three to five years.

My guess is that it will happen faster than that, as the price of the book is cheaper, and the price of the iPad, Kindle, and Nook are rapidly falling with each no version, and new generations of younger readers go first to their gadgets, and then the ‘old fashioned’ bookshelves.

The top booksellers-Barnes & Nobel and Borders-are trying hard to avoid the fate of record stores that shut down when the music business went digital a decade ago.

Well, what does that mean for Peace Corps writers?

Do I write my book and publish it as an e-book? Do I go to a publisher and have it printed as a hardback or in trade? Do I publish it POD?

In some upcoming blogs, I’ll write about what I think, and what I think you should do.