Technology has profound effect on our 21st century lives. It has made remarkable changes to way we do things and even perceive things around us but does technology means bye-bye to our traditional way of doing things?
eBooks are invention of this century and has great effect on print book publishing. Before the rise of eBooks it seemed that dead cheap price and wide availability of eBooks thus the print books are in existential crisis and with e-readers like Amazon’s kindle certainly seemed to seal fate of the printed books. People didn’t even have any problem reading from Kindles this was reflected in low call volumes to Kindle customer service.
Its evident that printed books have taken a great hit but rate at which the decline is taking place is slowing and the temptation of nova around eBooks is subsiding. The Kindle sales went up to 13.44 million in 2011 and fell back to 9.7 million in 2012 and the sales remained constant after that. Barnes and Noble’s Nook e-reader has been at loss with $70 m of loss per year and they have been struggling to find new takers.
Books still capture the major share of the market with 1.7 billion pounds in the UK last year and eBooks seems to settle for 30% of that with 393 million. The sales of printed or digital books depend on the genre of the book such as adult fiction especially romantic and erotic has gone strongly to digital books whereas religious and cookery books have done well in print and books with illustrations also do well on printed books.
Sometimes there is not even a clear distinction between digital and physical book and it makes us question what a book is. A book named ‘The little girl who lost her name’ is example of such a book. It was actually a printed book which was capable of being digitally individualized to have the name of child who is reading it.
A book company named See-book sells physical card as eBooks which can be purchased online or in a store like gift cards. The card contains QR code in it that can be scanned using smartphones or tablets to download the actual book. These books blur the line between digital and real. While some bookstores see digital as a worrisome growth but the fact remains that digital books are not going away anytime soon.
The fact that digital books have taken large portion of stake from physical books has led some people like William Cook-son, the founder of Bookindy, to use technology to encourage people to go back to bookstores. His invention is a Chrome browser plug-in that makes a window to pop up that says how much it would cost you to buy the book of whose eBook version you are looking for.