By EDWARD WYATT
LOS ANGELES — Is the electronic book approaching the tipping point?
That topic both energized and unnerved people attending BookExpo America, the publishing and bookselling industry’s annual trade show, which ended at the convention center here on Sunday.
Much of the talk was focused on the Kindle, Amazon’s electronic reader, which has gained widespread acclaim for its ease of use. Jeffrey P. Bezos, the founder and chief executive of Amazon, spent much of a packed session on Friday evangelizing about the Kindle, which he said already accounts for 6 percent of his company’s unit sales of books that are available in both paper and electronic formats.
But excitement about the Kindle, which was introduced in November, also worries some publishing executives, who fear Amazon’s still-growing power as a bookseller. Those executives note that Amazon currently sells most of its Kindle books to customers for a price well below what it pays publishers, and they anticipate that it will not be long before Amazon begins using the Kindle’s popularity as a lever to demand that publishers cut prices.
Overall, traffic at the book fair seemed lower than in past years, a reflecting perhaps that some editors did not make the long trip west from Manhattan, as well as the fact that the growth in the book business has slowed.
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