As past times go, there’s little that is more old-fashioned, quiet and basic as reading a book. Or, at least, that used to be the case. But with the competitive flood of electronic readers, or e-readers, hitting the market as well as e-reader applications for smartphones, the reading experience has been getting a progressively modern makeover. The stats are in and the fight is on. Overall book sales have dropped in 2008 and 2009, according to the American Association of Publishers (AAP).
While adult hardcover books actually increased by over 6% in 2009, eBook sales, which account for 4% of all book sales, have increased a whopping 176%. Are these figures telling the tale of the tape as the publishing industry struggles to regain their status as a recession proof industry? Are eBooks on their way to eliminating traditional books altogether? Most of us love to read and most of us have our preferences for the platform we read from. Will you be a traditionalist and stand behind the old guard?
Bill McCoy, executive director of International Digital Publishing Forum, based in Seattle, Washington, said that while it’s hard to gauge just how the sale of digital books (e-books) is growing, it’s clear that the sales, as a percentage of the overall market, are in the double digits “and on a fast-growing vector”. “Amazon is saying that they’re selling more e-books than hardcover books. And in many cases, depending on the title, they might be selling more e-books than physical books. ” A relatively new phenomenon is that e-reader, be it Kindle, ipad or a number of other new competitors coming into the marketplace.
When we think about our environment, these devices seem to be more environmentally friendly than our typical paper and cardboard book, even a paperback. There are certain tactile to real book, just feeling the paper, turning the pages. But on the surfaces, the e-reader would seem to be much greener. E-reader vs. conventional book is a provocative question. Actually, right now, there are some major problems with conventional book publishing, of which you should be aware, if your goal is to get this community to acquire and then to issue your work.
The first one is distribution through bookstores has never been tougher. Most publishers sell to stores on consignment. If books don’t fly off shelves into the hands of buyers, they’re returned to publishers, very quickly. Your title doesn’t get very long exposure or time to establish itself. Other than that, books used to be kept “in print” and available for longer periods of time, in many cases, for years. Now, they’re put to death quickly, if initial sales are anything other than brisk. Besides that, we live in an era of the celebrity book.
If Oprah wants to write a diet book, it will be a monster hit; you know that. But the most exciting, up and coming, highly credentialed nutritionist may not have a chance of breaking into print. Next, publishers expect authors to make them profitable through personal promotional efforts. “What are you going to do to sell this book? ” is the major question they ask, and agents will tell you, without a personal commitment to sell your own copies, stated in your book proposal, you won’t get a publisher to bite. Otherwise, publishers are clueless, themselves, about what to put out there.
Reluctant to lead, and reluctant to follow the success of others, they are like the proverbial deer in the headlights. It used to be the case that if you wanted information on a subject you either went to your library or to your local bookstore. Not anymore. By going to the Internet, you can assemble the equivalent of a book, fast and more or less, for free. Publishers haven’t figured out how to sell content at a premium, in an environment in which so much of it is available, instantly, for nothing. There are alternatives to conventional book publishing, including self-publishing and using media alternatives such as audios and videos.
A regular book is better. Not only is it more reliable and you don’t have to worry about it dying, but there is just something special about feeling the smooth front cover and the rough edges of the thick, coarse pieces of paper that have been read by so many. If you get an e-book you click, download, and read. There’s nothing like the feeling of finishing a really good book. You want to share it with someone! You can’t share an e-book. E-books are really only good for travel. Most of the people refuse e-books either but prefers reading conventional books.
Readers like to read in bed so it’s easier the conventional way; they always find it’s easier on the eye to read a conventional book. It seems that our eyes feel more tired for reading e-book. Reading in the internet really hurts people’s eyes. Anyway, we should protect our eyes. There are people who read both but by far prefer a real book. In the technology era, there are some advantages and bright future for e-book. The first one is from the finding the book from the bookshelf. Depending on how many books readers have, and how organized they are, this can be a fairly daunting task for traditional books.
Some people used to have organized the books by the name of author, type of the books or alphabetically by title. That fell by the wayside the last time they moved. While they arranged it, they are completely random within the way they organized. That may not sound like trouble, but for someone who has a lot of books, for instance, it can make any one book tricky to find. While searching for a book on the virtual bookshelves within the e-book application is only slightly easier. Using e-book application, making it easy to find a book by typing the title, by author or by how frequently people read the book.
Secondly is travelling with books. Some people used to travel a lot and it was all they could do to fill the boredom of those long journeys with reading. It meant readers had to bring a lot of books with them, which weighed down their luggage. Travelling with e-books is something that they call heaven. They can close to 200 books and 30 or 40 magazines on their e-book application. The traditional books stack lot of kilograms but then using the e-book just only a few grams. From this side, people more prefer to using e-book rather than conventional books.
In many circumstances, reading an e-book is far superior to reading a traditional paper book. Firstly, the portability of e-book. The wonderful thing about electronic text is that it takes up virtually no room, in both a physical and digital sense. If readers have a storage card, they can walk around with at least a dozen books, and probably many more than that. Even if they don’t have a storage card, they can still walk around with a fair collection of three to six books (again, depending on book size and available memory). In many situations it’s hard to carry even one book around with people.
The storage abilities of most e-books allow readers to carry a reasonable collection of reading materials and/or reference texts. Because they probably carry their handheld around with them everywhere anyway, the convenience factor increases nearly exponentially. Because e-book is digital, not only are they super-portable, but they also open up the possibility for some really useful features. For starters, since most e-book is in some form of digital text file, readers can search the text for words or phrases. This is helpful when readers want to find a quote or another specific section of the book.
This can cut minutes, if not hours, off of wild goose chases for particular passages. Additionally, digital formats are assuming copy protection doesn’t get in the way that can be duplicated forever without decay or any real expense. We’ll dig deeper into the specifics of this issue later in the series, but if the e-book allows it, this duplication ability can make it possible for people to share books with their friends without ever having to actually give up one of their possessions. This is good for publishers (and hopefully writers as well), who don’t have to pay any production costs.
This in turn should drive the prices down for the readers. While the digital nature of the e-book in theory raises the effectiveness of e-book, it also brings up a few ideas that are interesting and worth perusing in this series. E-book also easy to be read. The electronic format offers readers even more benefits over traditional paper books. E-book can be read in a variety of lighting situations, and due to the back lighted screens that most palm computers have, people can read an e-book in most low or no light situations, such as on the subway, during nighttime road trips, or in bed when they don’t want to disturb their partner.
Advantages of conventional books over electronic is resale value. Like music downloads, people will never actually be able to resell electronic books. If they are into collectable books, this is a particularly big problem and they should only use physical titles. Reading ease is also one of the advantages of conventional books. This one is only really a benefit for those that would otherwise read e-book on their computers or phones. If readers buy a commercial e-reader, it will probably use ink technology that will not hurt their eyes with backlight.
Never the less, readers don’t need to worry about this problem with a physical book. Other than that, no devices needed. If readers find themselves in a small town without their cell phone or computer, they won’t be able to download a new title for your e-book, but they can always stop by a local bookstore and pick up a new paperback. Conventional books have no batteries. While most readers have a good battery life, there will still be times where readers forget to charge it and then can’t read at all. Readers will never have this problem with a standard book.
No warranties needed when readers choosing conventional books. If their e-reader breaks, they will have nothing to read until they receive a new one. Some devices let them read the titles they have saved on their computer, but it’s just something readers will never have to worry about with a physical book. Best of all, if a book does get damaged to where people can’t read it, they can just go to the bookstore and buy another copy, rather than worrying if it is still covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Next is tradition.
Let’s face it; people are never going to get that comforting smell of paper or the weight of a good book in their hands when they read an e-book. And while people can flip ahead in an e-book, readers can’t do so in a matter of seconds and flip right back to the page. Amazon recently announced that its June 2010 Kindle e-book sales nearly doubled its hardcover book sales (180% higher). Many of those e-books were self-published books priced under a dollar; however, data indicates e-books may become the dominant long-form format in not too many years.
Are low-overhead e-books better for authors or publishers than their print counterparts? Forrester Research says retailers will sell 6. 6 million e-readers in 2010. Apple has already sold 3 million iPads, which are capable of reading Amazon Kindle e-books as well as Apple’s iBooks. At average prices, one would need to buy 15 e-books to offset the $189 price tag of a Kindle, 12 e-books to pay off a $149 Barnes and Noble Nook, and 39 e-books to justify a $499 entry-level iPad (assuming price is the only factor).
E-books are up 200% from 2009, according to the Association of American Publishers; however, they still only represent 3-5% of total sales for publishers, according to the New York Times. Hardcover books are also up 40% since 2009, indicating that while e-books are undoubtedly a big part of the future of long-form publishing, people will still be turning paper pages for a while. (Sources: PrintingChoice, NYTimes) The tactile pleasure of worn pages between reader’s fingers is hard to replace. But when it comes to encouraging people to embrace the written word, e-readers trump their physical counterparts.
According to the infographic below, people who own e-book devices say they read more than people who don’t, at a rate of 24 books per year to 15. Education, escape, relaxation and entertainment rank as people’s main motivations to plow through books — proving that, whether electronically or via dead tree, reading remains a popular pastime. E-readers are also rising in popularity, signaling that it may not be impossible to imagine a world without traditional books sometime in the not-so-distant future. From December 2011 to January 2012, e-reader ownership nearly doubled, from 10 percent to 19 percent, among American adults.
And that stunning surge in just one month’s time doesn’t even account for tablets or other mobile electronic devices people use to read books and long form content. Worldwide, meanwhile, e-reader sales rose by nearly 3 million between 2010 and 2011. It’s also interesting to look at the relationship between actual e-book consumption and ownership of a device that enables users to read books electronically. According to one study, 29% of American adults own a personal e-book device, tablets included. But just 21% of adults had actually read an e-book in the past year as of February 2012.
It’ll be interesting to see if and when experiments on the potential impacts of e-readers on memory and cognition are done, as the market has definitely reached a point of no return in terms of moving away from printed pages. Stephanie Mantello, senior public relations manager of the Kindle group at Amazon. com, gave answers that didn’t include specifics, but implied massive quantities. For instance, when asked how many Kindles the company has sold since the product was first introduced in 2008, Mantello simply said, “Millions. Millions of people are reading on Kindle.
Kindle is also the best-selling product in the history of Amazon. com. ” It is the most-wished for on the “wish list” function account holders have on the company’s site. It’s given as a gift more often than any other single product. It has the most 5-star reviews. She did say that between April 1 and May 19, for every 100 print books the company sold, it sold 105 Kindle books. “This includes sales of hardcover and paperback books by Amazon where there is no Kindle edition. Free Kindle books are excluded, and, if included, would make the number even higher,” said Mantello.
The reasons for the slow acceptance of e-books vary but a constant reason given was not being comfortable with reading using personal computers, laptops and palm pilots (Helfer, 2000; Andersen, 2001). Other reasons included: finding it difficult to read on small screens, problems with browser, slow loading time, difficulties in navigating (Gibbon, 2001; Chu, 2003); and preferring to read printed text (Ray and Day, 1998; Holmquist, 1997; Gibbon, 2001). Summerfield and Mandel (1999) indicated that library users at the University of Columbia would use e-book in some depth when they are required to do so by courses they are following.
The studies above indicated that the degree of acceptance of e-book is on the rise but the preference for printed text remained. A high percentage of students indicated that they used e-book because it was available online (64. 2%), provided faster and easy access to new titles (45. 7%) and did not require physical visit to the library (40. 7%) (Table 1). Bodomo…et al’s (2003) respondents gave similar answers and his respondents recognized that digital libraries were very convenient since they did not need to go to libraries and could still read and download books or journals from home.
Similarly, Chu (2003) also reported that “available around the clock” and “searchable” were valued the most by students at a library and information science schools in the USA. Table 1: Reasons for Using or Not Using e-book Table 1 (b) shows that almost half (45. 6%) of the non-users indicate preference for paper format as a barrier for them from using e-books service. Holmquist (1997) found that the main reason for his respondents’ non-use of e-journals was their preference to read articles on paper, not on the computer screen.
Other non-users have mentioned factors such as little knowledge on how to use or access e-books, the print copy is convenient to use, the lack of Internet connection, difficulty in browsing and reading, having no interest, and perceiving the need for special software to be able to use e-book as being cumbersome. When the non-users were asked whether they would use the e-book in the future, only 30% (38) gave a definite “yes” while the majority (61%, 76) indicated “probably” or “not sure or “probably not”” (6%, 8; 2%, 2).
“While university students operate in a world immersed in digital text, they have not simultaneously abandoned print. It is not true, as Steve Jobs stated and as Nicholas Carr implied, that they like the iPad because they don’t read. In fact, for their university studies, students prefer to read on paper, although they also want the convenience of online digital text. ” Cull, 2012 There is no doubt that new forms of publishing are becoming increasingly popular across the world.
Their benefits are those that the traditional printed book could never imagine to surpass, and they fill a gap in a rapidly increasing market of readers dictating portability and mass storage as necessary to the current lifestyle. However, evidence shows that readers are not entirely convinced that e-readers are books of the future. They have not caught on as other recent technology trends have, and the consistent theme of simulating e-readers to resemble traditional books, indicates that consumers are not prepared to relinquish the time-honored form for this new technology.
As such, the chance of books becoming redundant or obsolete in the near future is improbable. “The history of communications media tells us that new media often do not replace old. At most, they redefine the purposes and functions of older media” (Cope & Kalantzis 2001:5). Of more value to consumers then, is a co-existence of the two, amalgamating the benefits of each to accommodate for the needs of all, rendering neither redundant nor obsolete.