E-readers: Are they Taking over Books?
In the past few years, e-readers have sparked quite the interest in readers. Due to the age of technology with the many computer and technological devices out there, the interest is certainly warranted. However, many book lovers still love books in print, and have not succumbed to purchasing e-books online. However, with the gaining popularity of e-readers and the convenience of these devices, there are people that prefer using these to get the newest books or even to reread some classics. There are also those individuals, like myself, who use both and prefer one over the other only when the mood hits.
E-readers are amazing in many ways. Book lovers of all types can download many genres and, consequently a wide array of titles to a single device. They can take their e-readers on trips with them rather than lug around their hardback books, and whenever the mood strikes them, and for whatever title they wish to read, they have the peace of mind knowing that they are all safe in one lightweight and compact electronic accessory. With just these noteworthy advantages alone, who can reject an e-reader?
Actually, many can and do just that. Some people are avid book-toting, page-thumbing readers who just cannot bear the fact that reading a book, is, well, not anywhere the same as reading a physical book. I can understand this to a degree. Not everyone is technology savvy (not that you must be to have an e-reader), and not everyone wants to change their habits of going to their library or bookstore. Many of them still look forward to going to their favorite place where they can purchase or borrow books, while sipping a latte with a beautifully illustrated book cover and pages in their hands.
So, have e-readers had an impact on book sales? There has been and still is ongoing research on the impact of e-readers on book sales. Yes, e-readers have shown a large jump in sales since 2007 (when e-readers really hit the market) and yes; sales have significantly risen in the area of electronic books that are effortlessly purchased online. I am even guilty of this (or is it really guilt I should feel?), because there are some evenings when I am home that I browse the bookstore for books to download to my Kindle or my NOOK, and I am always attracted to the advice books or “how-to” books. Many of these purchases are impulse buys, and some of them I do regret purchasing as they were not as informative as I thought they would be. I could have easily gone to my bookstore and purchased books like these, perhaps from different, more notable writers, and paid three times as much, but the convenience and large amount of options to choose from while sitting on my couch overtook me.
E-readers and electronic book formats are becoming more popular by the year. One thing is for certain: the mid-to-older generation of readers is still transfixed on reading real hardcovers and paperbacks. They still enjoy the feel of turning the pages and their bookshelves stacked with books they love. Teachers still love having their classrooms adorned with a wide array of books for their students, and with these reasons, e-readers really cannot compare. Physical books are also extremely appealing to the eye; to many readers they are simply beautiful. Many individuals have true relationships with their hardbacks or paperbacks, and that is not going anywhere anytime soon. Also, books have a collectors’ feel, especially many of the older published books that can be bought at a vintage bookseller’s shop. Many individuals have bookshelves neatly and greatly adorned with many titles that are a sight to see, and e-readers just cannot provide that.
One impact e-readers have had on book sales has been caused by independent authors. There is a vast majority of self-proclaimed authors that have published e-books, and many people have followed these Indie authors and have purchased their books online through downloading them onto their e-reader. You see, Indie authors usually publish through the e-book sector, as it is much more cost-effective to do so. These books do not make their way into bookstores, and therefore cannot be purchased as a hardback or paperback. Sales by Indie authors are not anywhere near the popular books, bestsellers, and books written by well-known authors; however, many people still purchase and download them. This is an amazing opportunity for both the new and upcoming writers as well as people who love to read, so in essence it is a win-win. It is so simple to write and publish an e-book, and it doesn’t cost much to do so. Many sites, like Amazon and others will allow authors to list their novels on their sites for a small profit for the writer, while a set sales percentage will be gained by these sites. People that enjoy trying new books from new authors can download these books that cannot be found in bookstores or libraries, and give them a try. Hopefully, with people reading the Indie authors’ books, the writer will attain great feedback, and in turn gain popularity. E-readers can make this all happen.
Hence, the impact of e-readers on book sales is not as grim as we may think. E-readers have had a small impact on book sales, but not enough as of yet to be worried that print is going to become extinct. With the many institutions that rely on printed books; such as libraries, schools, colleges and universities, and other print industries such as magazines and newspapers, e-readers as of now are simply another popular option for reading, learning, and enjoying various genres of writing. Print and paper just have too much of an ownership; a value, that people marvel and adore. But for the serious book lovers out there, they may realize at some point that trying out an e-reader may be their next act of love!