Posts Tagged ‘print books’

“The Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon probably wouldn’t have happened if e-books didn’t exist…”

So says Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, in an article in the January 5 US edition of The Wall Street Journal.

Mr Carr goes on to say:

…Readers of weightier fare, including literary fiction and narrative nonfiction, have been less inclined to go digital. They seem to prefer the heft and durability, the tactile pleasures, of what we still call “real books”—the kind you can set on a shelf.

E-books, in other words, may turn out to be just another format—an even lighter-weight, more disposable paperback. That would fit with the discovery that once people start buying digital books, they don’t necessarily stop buying printed ones. In fact, according to Pew, nearly 90% of e-book readers continue to read physical volumes. The two forms seem to serve different purposes…

…Half a decade into the e-book revolution, though, the prognosis for traditional books is suddenly looking brighter. Hardcover books are displaying surprising resiliency. The growth in e-book sales is slowing markedly. And purchases of e-readers are actually shrinking, as consumers opt instead for multipurpose tablets. It may be that e-books, rather than replacing printed books, will ultimately serve a role more like that of audio books—a complement to traditional reading, not a substitute…

…The initial e-book explosion is starting to look like an aberration. The technology’s early adopters, a small but enthusiastic bunch, made the move to e-books quickly and in a concentrated period. Further converts will be harder to come by. A 2012 survey by Bowker Market Research revealed that just 16% of Americans have actually purchased an e-book and that a whopping 59% say they have “no interest” in buying one…

…e-book purchases have skewed disproportionately toward fiction, with novels representing close to two-thirds of sales. Digital best-seller lists are dominated in particular by genre novels, like thrillers and romances. Screen reading seems particularly well-suited to the kind of light entertainments that have traditionally been sold in supermarkets and airports as mass-market paperbacks.

These are, by design, the most disposable of books. We read them quickly and have no desire to hang onto them after we’ve turned the last page. We may even be a little embarrassed to be seen reading them, which makes anonymous digital versions all the more appealing…

For the full article go to: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323874204578219563353697002.html?KEYWORDS=print+books#articleTabs%3Darticle

WHO AGREES WITH MR CARR? LET ME KNOW. I’D BE INTERESTED TO LEARN YOUR OPINION.

For what it’s worth, I suspect we’ve only seen the tip of the e-book revolution iceberg and I believe Mr Carr and, indeed, the rest of us will be amazed by the monumental changes coming in the publishing industry and in the literary world.

Publishers who don’t adapt won’t survive.

All power to the lowly writer!

Lance

 

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