Has there been a disturbance in the Force?
It’s not just The Force Awakens, but for the second consecutive year, e-books have reversed their gains in my poll that asks whether you think you’ll ever buy mostly ebooks. The results!
Here are the people who say you can pry paper books out of their cold dead hands:
And here are the people who welcome their coming e-book overlords:
2007: 7% (!)
Now, yes, caveats, this was an unscientific poll, different samples, etc. etc.
So tell me. Does this track with your personal experience? Any former e-book devotees who have made the jump back to print?
Amy Jarecki says
I read my favorite authors in print for the most part. I try new authors in ebook, and use my e-reader when traveling. But that's just me. I agree with your poll!
Personally, I buy a lot of second hand books for 1 penny in amazon.co.uk. You have to add 2.8 pounds for shipping, but still it's quite cheap. Otherwise, I try to buy e-books, though I'll revert back to print if the difference is big.
daniel t. radke says
I have a theory on why these results are flowing the other direction.
-It's safe to assume that your main readership consists of authors, yes? Yes.
-I think it's also safe to assume that, though you've self-published one book, your advice is 95% based in traditional publishing.
-Indie publishing has gone gangbusters in the past five years.
-Indie publishers are likely more tech-savvy by way of necessity. One would assume that indie authors, who make 99% of their money from ebooks, would like ebooks more than people pursuing traditional publishing.
-Since you left the publishing world and your back-blog-catalog has little in the way of indie publishing, you've lost a lot of indie author viewers.
Thus the tide has turned.
Ted Cross says
I find that I only use the Kindle when I travel. Any books that I wish to share with my kids I get in print. I know books can be shared across Kindles, but my kids basically don't use their Kindles.
Yum Yucky says
It's so hard for me to get into ebooks. I've tried and tried, but no bueno. I need to have the physical book in my hands.
Amalie Berlin says
I've drifted back to paper for a few reasons, but the most important:
I submerse better in paper.
I retain more in paper.
I still buy ebooks, but I prefer paper.
Brenda Peick says
E-books are the same price as paper, in many cases. When this happens, I buy paper. This year, the e-book prices have been soaring, so I've gone back to paper.
Nancy Thompson says
I used to be a diehard hardcopy gal, but over the years, I've crossed over to the dark side and, while I love hardcopies for my favorite authors, they simply are not convenient since I do a lot of my reading in bed late at night, and my Kindle Paperwhite is the perfect tool for that. Plus, I love being able to carry hundreds of books with me at all times and easily quit one book and move on to another.
Several years ago I bought a Kindle and was ready to join the revolution. Today, I have no idea where it is. Today, give me an old-fashioned paper book. If I want to read a book on Kindle I use my Kindly phone app, but still prefer a paper copy of the book.
I think the decline in e-book sales is mostly due to people switching to tablets and phones for e-reading. The early Kindles without back-lighting were much gentler on the eyes and made for easier reading than print books.
SK Figler says
It ain't either/or, Nathan. And I have no system. They both work for me, though I admit to more of a sensory connection to paper.
I haven't bought paper for years, and have no intention of turning the tide. I enjoy the ease of purchase, and the extensive range of books across the specteum of publishing. Before I travel, I load dozens of books, TED talks, newspapers and magazines on my device and I don't have to lug a single paper monster in my backpack (or dispose of it later when read). I purchase many more books because the price is reasonable, and I try different types of books because they are readily available. EReading on a device is so easy. And yes, I can do it in the bath! Younger readrs OWN the publishing revolution. They read on any electronic device and tell older readers to get with the program.
Mary Ellen Wall says
I'm a Indie author (5 in a series with the next in editing)who sells almost all ebooks…the print copies are expensive at 400 pages each. Thus, I appreciate ebooks and wish them well. I personally work at a computer much of the day and must write and blog with the computer. I got my master's degree online. Enough! Relaxation means getting a printed book (used, most often)and settling into a chair with no electronics, no cords, no batteries. If my fingers cannot anticipate turning the page as I read the last paragraph, something very satisfying is missing.
It isn't just the younger generation that may have fallen for e-books. My husband was of the "pry from my cold dark hands" until he started having some eye problems. Now kindle is much much easier for him to read. Paper a big struggle, esp when print is small and leading Ungenerous. There's a cohort of older readers who are finding their ability to read books, magazines–even newspapers–is made easier by ye olde kindle.
I'm one of those older readers (also an author and freelance writer/editor). Now I much prefer reading on my Kindle. I would have liked to participate in the survey but just didn't do it in time. So both my husband and I read e-books more than print, and at the same time, my son and daughter-in-law, at 40 years old, prefer the same! Looks like e-books rule in our family.
My opinion is that your readership has changed on average… I've been reading your blog for 5+ years, and I remember each post getting hundreds of comments. Since you've left publishing and post less often, I think your readership has dwindled down to a good core. This core could be more traditional / paper leaning, and maybe many of the e-reader types have moved on?
Don't get me wrong, I think there could be a slight rebound in paper books, but not to the magnitude of the big swing you had from 2014 to 2015…
Cheers, and keep up the good work!
LA Jefferson says
Considering most of the books on my bookshelf are books that I purchased over 5 yrs ago or books that I "borrowed" from my mother's house, I guess I'm in the percentage of increased e-book purchases. It's a combination of space saving and money saving. I prefer hardcover books but not the $25 for new releases.
Mark Preszler says
I begrudgingly read paper now. It's limiting to not be able to read at a moment's notice, highlight across any device and copy/paste an inspiring phrase or paragraph for a friend.