E-books, where to now?

The Washington Post recently published this article about e-books sales and how they are levelling off.

In the first quarter of 2013, sales were up only 5 percent from a year earlier, compared with 28 percent in the same period of 2012 and a whopping 252 percent in 2010.

The library statistics show a different story. In January of this year, our e-book issues via OverDrive (the platform which allows you to download e-books and audiobooks) sat at 4683, and in July this had climbed to 5727.  The number of new members using OverDrive and borrowing e-books has also steadily increased since we first started issuing e-books in 2009.

What I believe we can take out of these e-book sales statistics is that after the initial rush into a new technology, things are settling down a bit – until they inevitably change again of course!

The question was always “at what share of the book market will e-book settle,” not “when will print books cease to exist.” Old technologies never die, they just fade into a smaller, niche offering; television supplanted radio as the dominant mass medium in the middle of the last century, for example, but radio is still a big business.

The endless discussion about the demise of the printed book seem to have eased off and people are now finding different uses for different formats.  I use my e-book reader if I go on holiday but I still borrow print copies throughout the year, and I like to buy the occasional book to grace my bookshelves.  Some types of book work better in a print format, for example picture books and nice big coffee table books just don’t work for me in an e-book format.

I suppose the only thing that we can know for certain is that technologies will continue to develop and that life never stays still for very long. Perhaps you will find these three books interesting?

Megachange : the world in 2050 by Daniel Franklin.  What will the world look like in 2050 and how are we going to get there?

What have you changed your mind about? : today’s leading minds rethink everything  by John Brockman. This book has chapters written by a variety of authors from disparate disciplines and includes headings such as Have humans stopped evolving, Unfettered by facts, Good old stuff sucks and Humanoid cuisine.

EBook Publishing for Beginners: How to Make Money Selling your Digital Books Online, published in e-book format of course!

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