It seems as though everything we do is on a computer these days. Just about everyone’s job involves a computer of some kind, and for some people sitting in front of a computer all day is all they ever do. Socializing involves computers- from social networking to text messaging. When it’s time to relax and unwind, are you choosing to read a print book or a book in digital format?
Improvements in ereaders have seen the popularity of ebooks skyrocket an astounding 1260% in just two years. In fact, ebooks were slated to overtake print books by 2015, though that never actually happened. In fact, there was a 10% drop in ebook sales in 2015, while print book sales actually rose by 2%. There are a number of reasons for these numbers.
Print books have some distinct advantages over digital books. The are theft-resistant because they are inexpensive and readily available, unlike ereaders. You can pass them along to your friends when you are done reading them, unlike the titles you rent the rights to on your ereader. Once they are printed they can’t be altered. Print books never run out of batteries and you can read them during takeoff and landing on an airplane. Perhaps the biggest advantage is that paper books can’t receive 20 text messages from your boss every 5 minutes. It’s truly a way to unplug from a hectic lifestyle.
That said, ereaders have some significant advantages as well. If you’re going backpacking through Europe for 6 months you don’t have to carry 6 months worth of books with you. You can also download a new book any time you want, and it will be in your native language. Try finding a book you want to read in your language in Liechtenstein! And if you’re trying to read a translation of Dante’s Inferno while you travel through Italy, the built-in translator function will help you tremendously!
The publishing business has benefited from ebooks and ereaders as more and more people are turning to that medium, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to discount print books altogether just yet. There were more American Booksellers Association book stores in 2015 than there were in 2010, and Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman sold a record 761k copies in its first 6 days on the shelf. There’s still a pretty hefty demand for print books.
Ebooks give independent publishers more of an advantage in the marketplace than they have every had before. In January of 2016, nearly 45% of all books sold to Kindle ereaders were independent titles. There’s no longer a need to go through a publishing house to get your work to the market. In this day and age it’s more about the story than the format.
People are adaptive in their reading habits to the point that ereaders and print books are likely to be in a heated neck-and-neck competition for the foreseeable future- neither is going anywhere. Learn more about the future of books from this infographic!