If you clicked above on author Margaret Atwood’s 2011 humorous description of the history of publishing (in which she identifies one of the first forms as “yelling”), and her speculation about the state of digital publishing, you listened to her wry but somewhat anxious questions about how the ebook revolution might affect authors, even one as established as herself. This video was made less than two years ago, and Atwood was not alone in her speculation and fears.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal article entitled, “Don’t Burn Your Books, Print Is Here To Stay,” correspondent Nicholas Carr reports that speculators have mostly favored ebooks for the win over print books. “By 2015, one media maven predicted…traditional books would be gone.”
But the market is turning an unexpected corner. In a nutshell, ebooks growth is slowing, down from triple-digit sales to a healthy 32%, with hardcover sales doing well. And tablets are moving ahead of ereaders, because owners can do more than read on them.
Furthermore, the choice to go digital, or which books to buy as ebooks, is related to genre.
For example, those who buy literary fiction are more inclined to read a print book, but ebook sales soar when it comes to thriller and romance.
We’ve reported in this newsletter that despite the rise in ebook sales, readers are not abandoning print books. “E-books,” according to Carr, “may turn out to be just another format—an even lighter-weight, more disposable paperback.”
The moral of the story? No format gets left out.