Tuesday, October 9, 2018
ebooks vs. print—Who Won
This weekend, I ran across this cartoon. At one time, everyone predicted the electronic books would supplant the printed variety. I think we can see the future and it's here. Every book format appears to have found its natural level in the order of things and percentage changes from this point will probably be in single digits.
I suspect my experience is representative of the industry. All of my books are available in print and electronic formats. Most of them are also available in audio and library bound large print. Although my books sell in every format, there are differences in the distribution of sales.
My westerns sell overwhelmingly in the ebook format and are trending toward the subscription model. Voracious genre readers are perfect customers for books available inexpensively for a monthly fee. The mass-paperback industry has been pretty much devastated by ebooks. Audio books are also popular with genre readers.
Readers of my history books and historical novels prefer printed books. Large print books are popular with libraries.
It should have been obvious from the beginning that the perfect ebook market was mass paperbacks. A cheap, portable, and disposable reading format. But pronostators love to take a trendline and extend it to the stratosphere.
In truth, I don't care which format my readers prefer, only that they keep reading.