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Is the printed book becoming a relic of the past?

When I was in college, I loved going to the library to study, sitting in a nice comfortable chair and reading myself to sleep. When Borders launched its blockbuster neighborhood bookstores, I followed suit, often walking out of the store with a book that I had the pleasure of trying out just as comfortably. Now, most people buy their books online and read them on their Kindle.

An Internet phenomenon has been the consolidation of retailers into new monopolies. Retailers like Netflix replaced blockbuster stores like Blockbuster Video, which found it impossible to maintain their physical stores against the power of the Internet and the popularity of streaming downloads. Newspapers have been outdated through the more expeditious publication of the written word and, consequently, journalism has had to adapt to try to maintain some kind of quality.

The same has happened with the publishing industry and traditional bookstores. Borders, one of the “blockbusters” of the books, was gobbled up by Barnes and Noble, which now considers Amazon its main competitor. Amazon has developed a set of tools that allows authors to enter the publishing industry, a place once reserved for the elite and more closed than the world of Hollywood cinema.

A recent study found that almost 70 percent of consumers say they are unlikely to give up print books by 2016, and UK market research agency Voxburner recently surveyed more than 1,400 people, ages 16 to 24. about their media consumption habits. ; the survey found that 62% of respondents said they prefer print books to e-books.

I was surprised by these findings because I was sure eBook sales had been growing at an exponential rate. The annual BookStats study reports that 457 million e-books were sold last year; a 4,456% increase from 2008, when 10 million were sold (http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/books/2013/05/15/e-book-sales/2159117/). Although sales of print titles are higher, you can’t ignore the steady rise in the number of e-book sales, which I still think is the future of publishing. I think you have to take demographics into account, as most older readers will naturally choose a print book, while younger readers, who tend to do their homework on their laptops, will opt for an e-book.

According to New York Times bestselling author Hugh Howey, who has turned his back on the publishing industry and now publishes his own books, he makes more money self-publishing and frees up time that he would be using law enforcement agents. and publishers to write more and better books.

Print books are still bought because non-Gen Y readers are slow to convert to Kindle. They prefer to have a printed book in their hands, so there will be a market for the printed book in the near future. However, e-book sales continue to rise and older readers are buying Kindles. Impulse buying is much stronger with e-books, which are delivered instantly, and are cheaper than print books. I think the reading public will continue to prefer print books, but over time, e-book sales will overtake them, simply because of demographics.

My eBooks have print versions that are sold on Amazon and are also offered at Barnes and Noble. Although they only sell online, online book sales account for more than 50% of all book sales, as Digital Book World recently reported (http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2013/online-retail-now -accounts-for- nearly half of all US book sales/). I think the trend is for online sales to take over traditional retail. We’ve seen a lot of bookstore closures and consolidations in recent years and I think we can continue to see more. I myself will miss being able to walk into a bookstore, pick up a book and relax in a soft armchair while I try out their tickets to see if I feel like buying it, but there is no denying the trend. My ebook sales are still about three times higher than my print book sales, but the option is there to appeal to both markets, and that’s what Amazon is doing by giving authors its “Create Space” platform. .

I think publishers need to offer e-book and print formats to appeal to both sides of the market. In the end, it is the quality of the book and the promotions that are used to raise awareness rather than the medium that will control it. Like any other product, you need to package it and offer it to the consumer in a way that will appeal to their purchase of clothing.

However, as the reading public ages, new readers will be oriented almost exclusively to e-books. I regret the disappearance of the printed book, but I don’t see that anything can be done about it, except to preserve them in libraries and museums. With the trend toward iPads and Kindles, and public schools even proposing to issue iPads to students, young people will eventually grow up not knowing what it’s like to read a print book. Technology will do to the book what it has done to the printed newspaper.

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