I can’t help but noticing that the ratio of my book sales in the last twelve months has turned decidedly towards e-books. Looking back at my last year, sales have gone from 90% paperback last April to the exact opposite for April 2011. 90% e-book sales.

This is a very sudden change, which as an author, presents a whole new range of approaches necessary for marketing my books. In many respects it actually makes marketing easier, as e-books are in essence an extension of the Internet, so it makes sense to use the Internet and social media to promote the titles.

Where it gets a bit tricky is in preparing a book for publication. In the past my focus has been on getting a ‘book’ to market and as such, elements like typography, pagination, back cover and paper quality were the first items on the list of things to get right. Once the ‘book’ was published, an e-book version was some kind of afterthought. Just a quick re-format and bingo, an ebook.

However now, with the rapid move in the book market towards e-books, getting the formatting of an e-book spot on is an entirely different skill set. In my own experience I can tell you it takes me longer to get a book approved for publication and distribution on Smashwords than it does to get a paperback to market.

So where is the book going? Will our libraries and bookshops simply become e-terminals? Perhaps paperless and peopleless?

If you are an author or a reader, what do you think the future holds for the book?


Are We Becoming Bookless?

28 thoughts on “Are We Becoming Bookless?

  • 23/07/2011 at 11:47 am

    I, too, love the feel and smell of books (used book stores are heaven!). That said, I adore the Kindle app on my iPhone. I tend to buy most of my fiction on Kindle and all non-fiction (I buy a lot of crochet/knitting books) in print. I also get books from my favourite authors in print, but usually after I’ve read them on Kindle. I’m addicted to being able to buy books at 2am from bed :).

  • 24/07/2011 at 3:12 am

    I think that seemingly more cumbersome and less populating technologies get relegated to niche markets – cinema to television – LP to CD to MP3 – VHS to DVD – and books to digital – however technology requires operational functions that if encounter problems such as crashes, bugs, power failures, battery drainage, and elemental damage need ready alternatives. The book I will always savor, but if I’m less the digital native as say my eldest son who downloads his movies and songs from iTunes, and reads digital books and notes without even considering buying a hard copy of something unless it offers something extra.

    Also, however, as we enjoy sensory immersion in many things, electronic media will need to work into our physical tactile environment just as much as vice versa. I am writing this comment on my iPad because I don’t want to sit in my study chained to my desktop, I want to sit undercover outside and listen to the rain, smell the crisp rain air and gaze into my garden.

    • 24/07/2011 at 3:20 am

      Can I join you Rupert? LOL

  • 24/07/2011 at 3:36 am

    We’ve already hit the tipping point. When a new eReader comes out, you pretty much have to line up to get one. They have reached a price point that makes them attractive gift options. I think we will see the price of readers continue to drop as companies like Amazon and Kobo decide to turn them into loss leaders that will help generate profit from book sales.

    People think this is a just a fad but ask yourself this: How many vinyl records have you bought this year? How many songs have you purchased on a hard copy format of any kind? Rent any good betamax movies lately?

    The media may change, but the message will always find a way.

  • 22/02/2012 at 8:21 pm

    I still read books by paper back r hard cover. I am writing a speech about how people are reading less and less books every year. We don’t realize that soon we will leave nothing for our children to have knowledge from beside music and t.v. and the people we worship or strive to be like. I don’t want to leave my child with that type of future, so people please read books!!! Don’t be part of the three out of every four people who don’t read books!!! Leave your child some type of knowledge!!!! Thank you.

    p.s. I am only 15 and when I have a child I will leave them some great knowledge from books.

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