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?
I believe print books will still be important. E-books are at around 20-25 % now and will level out at about 30% of the total fiction market. Independent book stores will begin to embrace professionally prepared self-published books, sold to them at the proper discounts, and by professionally acting indie-authors/publishers.
At least that is the business model under which I am operating. So, I am doing my best to publish in both e- and print-formats (and eventually audio) to give my readers, my stories in the format they want. My two-cents.
Author of Crystal White
What makes you think they will "level off" at 30%. I can't think of any data that could be applied to reach that conclusion.
We have no idea what level they will reach.
I would say that in 50 years it will be 100%. In a shorter term it will be whatever percentage vinyl records occupy in total music sales. Maybe.
I've been watching people be flat wrong about this from the time it started.
My sons (9 and 5) have been encouraged to look at books from birth (more or less). My 9-year old has already decided he wants to be an author. He writes short stories constantly and avidly reads all sorts of fiction. He has a more than impressive collection of books from various authors. Whilst he will inevitably grow up in a world where gadgets become the norm, I'd hope he will continue to treasure his collection of child-hood books and pass them on to future generations, in the same way that they have been passed on to him. There's something a little bit magical about keeping books with inscriptions from loved ones.
I've had requests from him for various electronic gadgets (not all of them approved) but surprisingly not one request for a Kindle or similar gadget. Maybe the attraction of printed books WILL live on in future generations.
Same scenario with my grandchildren, only the eleven-year-old asked for a Kindle for Christmas.
My book is only available in print because some reviewers still insist on paper copies. I guess the number who do so is dwindling. At some point it will probably approach zero.
If it were near zero now, my publisher wouldn't have brought out paper copies.
Although... they did the same for a Mexican author and he's selling copies of the paperback. But apparently Kindles and such have no market in Mexico (I found out all the books on this label sell for $2 more in Mexico, BTW) and he sells them in comics shops. Mexican kids are used to paying 5-8 bucks for comics and graphics novels, he says.
But if they were $16.99 books? Not likely. I asked about that, and my publisher told me that in Mexico and Latin America most ebooks are purchased for iPads, phone apps, and other tablets, even playstations.
I think print books absolutely matter, because they're historically significant as well as presently significant. I own a Kindle and a Nook, and I love them because I can carry my books with me everywhere, but nothing can replace the book, regardless of if they disappear off the planet or not. They may not be as popular, but they'll always matter.
Well, if they disappear off the planet, I hope SOMETHING replaces them. :-)
I guess I just regard "book" as a body of information. The format isn't as important as the content. The bible started out as scrolls, the Iliad started out as memorized verses.
Now digital bibles are considered by many the perfect embodiment because they can be searched and bookmarked and indexed.
It might be analogous to the spirit vs flesh thing. Which is currently obsessing me while writing my memoir, Dirty Undies.