If I were a gambling man, I'd place my money on e-books becoming the dominant way people consume fiction. Saleswise, they already are in many markets. Give it a couple more years, and e-books will be beamed directly into eyeballs.
So does it matter for an author of any genre to put out a print book?
Tonight, I was at an event with many prospective readers. Let's call them, "my relatives." They said Kindles are great and everything, but they really wanted a print book. Given they tend to be middle class, educated women in their mid-years (i.e. a large demographic that buys books on a regular basis), I took their comments to heart.
It's good to get with the times on the e-book front, but it'd be foolish to abandon traditional readers. The beauty of this Golden Age of Writing is you can have it both ways. It's never been easier to fill readers' preferences in every demographic.
What do you think? Do print books still matter?
As a reader (to me personally), print doesn't matter. I don't read print anymore. Once I started ebooks I was hooked. I love ebooks and never was one of those who loved to feel the pages of print or whatever. I just read the stories and went on. I didn't cuddle up with books or snuggle with them like some folks do. LOL!
Answering as an author, I think print is still a good thing to offer especially in certain genres. Some genres still do much better in print than ebook. I also think it's a good idea that if you can, you give your readers the option of having your book in both formats. A lot of people still don't like ebooks or read them.
Another thing my publisher has said their print books have been almost nonexistent this year in terms of sales and that most readers are buying just the ebook versions. Some small pubs have even stopped doing print and only do ebooks.
I think print "might" be around longer but it will be as an option for publishers instead of a necessity.
I remember back in 2009 one of my online writing groups got on me because I said ebooks were gonna be very popular in a few years. The naysayers said it would never happen because too many people liked print and bookstores.
Fast forward to 2012:
Well bookstores are closing and print is almost nonexistent.
So who was right? LOL!
And look at the sales of some self-published authors or epublished authors who have their stories only as ebooks. Some are doing well with just ebooks alone and don't seem to be hindered by the absence of their work in print.
Well .... I guess size matters ... I dunno about price ....
Well, you know, Susan...
it's not the size, it's how well they move.
You and I know that, Cammy ... others may not ....
No ebook version?
On June 11, Stacy Anderson, for the Associated Press, addressed this topic in an article reprinted in several newspapers including the NY Times. Interestingly, the article appeared in the technology section, not the book section. (Read it here: Antidote to e-Books) The article highlights one author who self-published through a local venue using the Espresso Book Machine.
My 16-year nephew said he prefers printed books. He looks at a computer screen a lot for school. His eyes get tired. So when he reads for pleasure, he prefers a real book. He is not alone. There is a physical dynamic to reading something on a screen as opposed to something on paper. I read a computer all day at work and the last thing I want is to do more reading on a computer at home. For the same reason.
I expect the Espresso Book Machine or something like it will solve the problem. Someday you will go to a kiosk in your local book store and get a printed book in 5 minutes.
I don't see print completely dying out. Like Mac vs. PC. Some consumers will always prefer print and the marketplace will provide it for them.
I liked what you wrote. "The beauty of the Golden Age of Writing is you can have it both ways."
While I think e-books are great and they certainly have their place, my fervent hope is that print books never disappear. There's something so special to me about holding a book in my hands.
They don't have to disappear, at least for your titles. You want print books, you can get them produced for not much money. That's the nice part. You control it.
And doesn't it seem that publishers would eventually go to all POD for print books if people want them?
Pretty much knocking bookstores out of the picture.
I'd like to think big bookstores would disappear, but small ones stick around. I can't stand places like Borders and B&N, but very much like European book shops.
But I sure can't figure out a scenario that would make that happen.
Kindle sales of my two thrillers outnumber print sales 20/1, but I'm not going to abandon publishing print books. As others have said, some people just won't read an ebook, they want to hold a book in their hands. Not that I do a lot of signings/panels, but when I do, it's great to hold up the copy of an actual book ... and sign it for someone after the panel/talk is over.
Also, although I own a Kindle and read books on it, I also want to own print books, especially by top notch authors. I love to study them, re-read portions, even make notations in the margin. Yeah, yeah, I know you can highlight things in a kindle, but it's cumbersome. It's also difficult to flip back and forth to find something. I believe print books are going to be around for a long time. Not too many kids are reading ebooks, they're holding books in their hands, and they might want to keep on doing this when they grow up ...