Think about the last time you got on a plane. As you walked down the aisle to your seat in the back by the bathroom – unless you were in first class – did you happen to notice what people were reading?
You probably passed a few men in suits reading the Wall Street Journal but for those reading books; where they paperback or were they reading on an electronic device?
I’ll bet you found more people using a tablet or iSomething rather than the actual book. The trend for handheld devices is not only growing in how people communicate and conduct business but also how they enjoy their literature.
According to data gathered by Price Waterhouse, by 2017 e-books will represent 50% of book sales in the United States.
Yet, there is still a place for paper books. Rory Hilson explores the subject in her article asking if Paper Books are Dead? She has this to say:
E-book sales and e-reader use may be on the rise – but that doesn’t mean that print is gone for good. In fact, according to 2013 reports from the Association of American Publishers, total book sales grew 4% in 2012. That’s a good thing for book lovers of all kinds. And physical books sales for fiction and children’s literature were actually up from 2011.
Another area that’s helping physical books grow? Hardcovers. During the first 8 months of 2013, hardcover book sales grew 10%. During that same period, e-book sales dipped about 5%. What’s helping physical books stick around? A combination of things. It’s part nostalgia — people still like turning pages when they read, and adding books to their collections. According to Salon.com, three times as many readers prefer print to digital, and 58% of e-book readers also read print books. And for now, e-books can’t compete with print in terms of photographs, illustrations and pop-ups
The debate continues in an article by Patrick Allen who asked readers to offer their opinion: Paper Books or E-books. Here are a few of the quotes:
I LOVE paper books. But, living in Latin America, e-books have saved my life. The bookstores here have a very small English language selection, and I am just too lazy to read in Spanish. So, E-books have meant no postage, no heavy suitcases full of books, no waiting 4-5 weeks for books from amazon, or lost books.
I’m an ebook guy through and through, but my fiancee has a pretty good argument for buying physical books—at least sometimes.
If you’re going to the pool or the beach and want to bring a book, it’s a lot easier to bring a physical book, since you can leave it alone (to go swimming or whatever) without worrying about it getting stolen. Can’t do that with a $100 Kindle. You can also leave it in your car, in your backpack at school, etc.
For me, it depends on the book—how visual it is (graphic novels I like in paper format), whether I’m more likely to race through it (a good novel) or linger and bounce around (poetry), how big it is (I wish the gigantic Robert Moses book was in eBook form), and how well the text was translated to Kindle (I heard bad things about the Game of Thrones digital versions, so went with paper for that).
What is your preference?
I wonder, do you have a difference answer for what you read as compared to the books you write? And what does this debate means for writers moving forward?
If you haven’t considered putting your books into an e-book format, you might want to explore your options. In my next article, I’ll share information about how to set up your book in an electronic format.
Bottom Line: In today’s ever changing world, we need to provide our books in the format most desired by our target reader. What would that be for you?