A few years ago, it was predicted that e-Book supremacy will bring an end to paper books. E-book achieved immense popularity mainly due to their various advantages like easy accessibility, ability to carry more than one book in digital form, and so on. Ebooks have become a fad across the globe as they are cheaper, portable and more compact than paper books. This also created more demand for e-book conversion services with many authors preferring to publish electronic books. With these services, you can customize your book and give it a more attractive and stylish new look. E-books can be directly uploaded on eCommerce websites, online book stores and made accessible to a larger audience worldwide.
The digitization of books along with the advancement of the internet drastically increased the sale of e-books. People prefer downloading e-Books over purchasing physical books and find it much easier to carry all their books wherever they want. Moreover, children and teens prefer e-books over paperbacks and this also increased the demand for e-books.
However, studies by the UK Publisher’s Association and the Association of American Publishers point out that the sales of consumer e-books have decreased. The UK Publisher’s Association say that physical book sales increased by 4% and the sales of ebooks dipped by 17% in 2016. In 2012, digital books were expected to increase by 50 percent within five years but the e-book market has been plateauing in the 25 to 30 percent range.
Two Main Reasons for the Decline of e-book Sales
- The chief executive of Kobo, Michael Tamblyn says that the decline of e-books is due to pricing. Traditional publishers are setting a lower price for physical books and this limits the ability of a retailer to discount or run price promotions, and this pulls people away from digital to print books. The average price for an e-book increased by 7 percent when the price of a hard copy increased by 3 percent.
- Another reason for the decline of digital books is that some categories of books like humour books and cookery books are preferred in print form. In 2015, the fascination for adult colouring books contributed to the increase in print book sales. In the UK market £20.3 million was generated from sales of adult colouring books.
Despite the statistics published by the Association of American Publishers and the UK Publisher’s Association, it is doubtful whether the survey results are completely reliable. The Amazon Kindle store stocks many independently published titles and titles published by small and micro publishers, which are not captured by the survey. With the increase in both average smartphone screen size and smartphone use, the period 2014 to 2015 marked another shift. The phone was becoming a significant reading tool.
According to US Nielsen surveys, while the percentage of the e-reading population increased from 30 percent in 2012 to 41 percent in 2015, the number of e-book buyers who used their phones to read increased from 24 percent to 54 percent in the same period. The publishing industry has changed and it is no longer solely the domain of members of publishers associations and books with ISBNs that allow easy tracking and accumulation of data that appear reliable but doesn’t contain all the facts. At the Digital Book World conference in January 2017, an analysis by the Author Earnings website identified that outside the world of traditional publishing, authors who were self published, independently published or published directly by Amazon imprints, had sold more than 260 million e-books worth more than US $850 million in the US in 2016.
It is possible to speculate about the future prospects of the e-book and paper book markets as new factors have emerged that have significantly impacted reader behaviour and sales pattern. What is important is to view both paper and e-books as significant for any book publishing project in the present and near future so that effective strategies can be developed to meet the requirements of both.
Since we are in a digital world, e-books are inevitable and e-book conversion services will continue to be in huge demand. Print books will also continue to be published because there is definitely a group that prefer them over their electronic counterparts. The battle between both versions is not important, what is important is that people preserve time for reading and benefit from its advantages.