Saturday, April 7, 2012

Ebooks on the Rise

I found this interesting report from the Pew Research Center on the rise of e-books.

It doesn't surprise me at all.  E-books represent a sea-change in the publishing industry.  E-publishing is in its infancy.  In fact, it's still finding itself, and readers are still sorting out their options as consumers.

Some people say this throws the door wide-open to self-publishing, though I disagree.  Self-publication has always been with us.  It's with us still.  And just as they always have, readers will find ways to sort out the gems from the dreck.  The real financial boom is already taking place with e-publishers.

Back in the 1960s, a similar change occurred: mass-market paperbacks.  Traditional publishers put out hardcover books.  In the 1950s, paperbacks were used to issue reprints.  What happened in the 60s, though, was that paperback publishers started putting out original titles.  A book could go straight to paperback first and never see life as a hardcover.

With the rise of the paperback novel, a whole generation of new publishers arose, among them companies like Harlequin (originally a reprint house, but started publishing original medical romances), Avon, Bantam and Dell.  Romance and science fiction publishers emerged.  Paperbacks fueled the reading public's voracious hunger for romance, science fiction and fantasy, westerns and other niche genres.

Those paperback publishers eventually started putting out titles in hardcover and today they are . . . traditional publishers.

I think it's happening again.  A new generation of publishers is rising to package and deliver content to a strong market for e-books.  Some of these publishers will fail, but many will succeed in carving out a nice niche.  In order to succeed, they need writers.  Hey, I'm a writer!

And here's the thing . . . I'm also a reader.  My Kindle is fired up and loaded with fun titles. For the first time this year, I bought more e-books than paperbacks.  One person does not a trend make, but the Pew report tells me I'm definitely not alone.


  1. Yeah, I agree. I don't think paperback is going the way of the eight track (boy, did I just date myself there) and I hope they don't. There's something about holding a book in my hands, the smell, turning the page... You can't get that with ebooks.

    I love what's happening with the ebooks-lol of course-but I still have my stash of papreback and hardback.

    God,I sounded like a junkie just then, lol. ;)


  2. I prefer paper books, too, to be honest. There's the cover art, for one thing. Lots of e-books give you the text, but not the art. And it's not as easy to flip back and check on details, etc., though I'm getting the hang of bookmarks. I won't buy a reference book in digital format, at least not so far.

    I think ebooks are creating some wonderful niche markets, though, and I love the variety of inexpensive books and new authors.

    One think I won't do is buy an ebook when the paperback is the same price or cheaper. :D One of my favorite authors has a title out in ebook or hardcover, and the ebook is $14. There's a paperback coming in May... and I'm waiting for it!

  3. As a self proclaimed gadget addict, I will admit my fondness for all things Nook. That said, I still enjoy my paper products as well. The entire reason I bought a Nook in the first place (besides it being a new gadget) was that my house was overflowing with books and I didn't want to get rid of them...but I couldn't buy anymore because I had no where to put them.

    Haha. But I still sneak my favorite authors into the house in book form every now and again because I sometimes miss the feel of an actual book without buttons. Like my Anita Blake books have their own shelf and I will only ever buy them in book form because 1. I love the covers 2. Sometimes I get so into them that I have to curl the edges with excitement or toss the book around in frustration. You can't really do that with a nook unless you have an extra couple hundred dollars lying around. Which I don't, so...yeah.

    Something I'm noticing though, at least in my community, is that all of my favorite local book shops have gone out of business due to the increase in ebook sales. The place around the corner from my house that had the big bohemian pillows on the floor and the open window seats and the amazing iced chai and wifi...GONE. Sigh. I'm still in mourning but when I think about it, they really had no choice.

    Barnes and Noble still conquers in my city and sometimes I have a hard time going in there. While ebooks are on the rise, so is the price of actual books. Even with my club card, the dollar mark on a book that used to cost somewhere around 15 now averages around 22-24. For a book? Non-sense.

    So now unless its truly worthy of my bookshelf, I have adapted to the way of the Nook. I have the nook App on my phone, my ipad, and my laptop....besides the actual device itself. I love the range of material and the range in price.

    I agree that I would never buy a reference in ebook form. That just sounds like a migraine waiting to happen.

    From a proud book junie~