What’s your favorite method of reading books, print or on electronic reading devices? The book industry is still in a quandary adjusting to readers’ preferences. Ebook sales are up 43%, which is very good growth. However, compared to the previous three years of triple-digit increases, that number indicates a leveling off in digital book sales.
Sales numbers released by the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group, indicate 457 million ebooks were sold last year. However, that number is lower than the number of hard covers sold—557 million.
I prefer the printed word. I enjoy holding a book and physically turning the pages—particularly if the book is one that I’ve written. Being able to turn back quickly to a particular chapter or section is much easier with a printed book. I can also easily determine how long a chapter is . . . do I want to start reading the next chapter if it happens to be a long one?
On the other hand, the eReader allows me to read several books at a time, without carrying the actual books around. This feature is particularly convenient when travelling. Moreover, when I finish reading a book, I simply open up another on my reader.
Obviously, reading a book in print or electronically is a personal preference. I know people who scoff at the notion of ebooks, pontificating about the importance of maintaining the integrity of the written word. Still others wouldn’t trade their Kindle, Nook, or iPad for the world.
My guess is this bifurcation of reading habits and the battle over preferences is far from over. As for publishers, it’s clear that they need to have one foot in each world.