Soaring into the skies of popularity and catching the fancy of young and old readers for about a decade, ebooks are reported to have been losing their charm for a few years now. It was not long ago when with the launch of dedicated ebook readers and mobile tablets everybody wanted to read on their screens, bringing down sales of print books worldwide and shutting down a host of book stores.
The data on ebook sales worldwide is not clear, American Association of Publishers or AAP released a report recently which says that ebook revenues were down by 18.9% through August 2016, Publishers Association of UK shows the same trend, a slump of ebook sales by 17% in the UK. However a report on Author Earnings gives a contrasting view, the in-depth comparison of ebook vs print books sales highlights a unique balance and advises authors to diversify into print and digital publishing, according to genre and market.
With not so promising reports coming in from the industry it seems disheartening for ebook publishers, but the case of ebook is a different one. Ebooks don’t have to be seen as a product in direct battle with print books. The business of digital books is distancing itself from print books and this is natural as the two are no more same products in different formats, but different products with same content. Print books are a luxury product now, and digital books are cheap technology products which provide the same content – in fact enhanced and interactive content – in digital format. Ebooks provide instant access and they don’t need to take the luggage space when it’s tight, print books smell good and they are a precious possession.
There’s more to this ebook vs print breakdown. In the traditional print industry, print books are production friendly whereas ebooks demand for a new approach. Distribution and warehousing of print books is costly but digital books are safely delivered at low cost on ebook platforms like iPC Scholar. Print books provide linear reading experience whereas ebooks can be interactive with media infusion and offer adaptive learning path.
Books, unlike other consumer media formats like music, television and cinema, have been constant companion of mankind since thousands of years, and they carry a lot of emotional prowess with them which humans are not able to let go of easily. For ebooks to stay competitive in the market the industry needs to understand that print books can’t be replaced anytime soon. Ebooks have to place themselves as a technology product that is not in direct confrontation with print books. Ebooks can provide a wide range of experience, from a PDF of a short novella to ebooks that are crawling up the z-axis. Ebooks rendering 3d effect and immersive virtual reality will find extensive usage in professional training in future.
A shelf full of books is a pleasant sight, it feels good to turn the pages, and we proudly show off an author signed copy of our favorite book. Books evoke nostalgia and they are our companion in good and bad times. But the story of digital books is a different one, they are a utility product with great possibilities enabled by technology in future. The genre and the market for ebooks is different from the print books. Despite the negative reports coming in ebooks are not a fad, they have a distinct desirability and practical advantages. The future is full of possibilities for ebooks and it only waits for how to leverage the technologies for greatest advantage and wider adoption.