This week is National Read an eBook Week. Believe it or not, the eBook was invented by Michael Hart and was first made available way back in 1971. By the 2000s, with the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets, eBooks began showing up in sales trends and market share reports. By the start of 2012, more eBooks were published online in the United States than were distributed in hardcover. Some thought this would spell impending doom for physical books. Many a discussion has circled around the question “Are you a traditional book lover, who prefers the classic feel and experience of a physical book, or do you prefer a quickly downloaded, less expensive eBook for your life on the run?”
Recent reports have given us some information to consider. As of the years 2015-2016, eBook sales have begun to slightly diminish or plateau. Some reasons include a beginning increase in the price of eBooks (supply and demand), people finding the need to curtail and control screen time for visual health, as well as a growing number of independently published books without trackable data (such as ISBNs).
I don’t think physical books are going to disappear; they will always have their faithful readers. I also think that eBooks are the new kids on the block that are here to stay. Amazon is banking on it and now even offers a free downloadable kindle app for use with its eBooks. Both formats will need to learn how to share the world’s book market because they both serve very unique needs for their different users. An interesting fact that tracking graphs have shown is just that . . . the needs of unique sub-groups. For example, children’s books are still heavily dominated by physical books whereas, the group of eBooks most heavily published and purchased is adult fiction.
If you remember, I did mention in the very beginning of this post that this is National Read an eBook Week. Though physical books and eBooks should be treated with equal respect, perhaps for this week, we’ll let eBooks win the battle. Mary and I believe, of course, that the absolute best way to celebrate this week is to purchase an eBook copy of our book Happily Ever After Everyone Else. If you’ve already read it, you can delay your celebration until late spring when our second book comes out! Whether or not you’re Team eBooks or Team Physical Books, we’ll have a copy for you!