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"E-book decline" Topic

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978 hits since 31 Mar 2014
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Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2014 8:57 a.m. PST

hardback sales surge !

Interesting : link

Of course, you can't make a lovely inscription in an ebook, so a hardback wins there as, say, a birthday or christmas present.

Parzival31 Mar 2014 9:07 a.m. PST

I was at a writer's convention not too long ago where an attendee was having the authors sign the back of her iPad with a Sharpie. I thought that was a brilliant approach. It seems odd, be she definitely wound up with a distinctive iPad!

Great War Ace Inactive Member31 Mar 2014 9:18 a.m. PST

"The traditional, physical book is hanging on. I'm absolutely sure we will be here in 40 years' time."

"Anyone who tells you they know the future is telling you the most grotesque lie, because none of us do."


Parzival31 Mar 2014 9:25 a.m. PST

I will say that I do think certain factors may play in to any eBook decline.

For one, I think that eBooks are overpriced as far as the average consumer is concerned. Not only is there the initial price of the reader (which, even in a cheap reader, is not trivial), but people naturally equate value with physicality and even weight. A printed book has substance and distinctiveness in its appearance (cover art, etc.), as well as some heft. An eBook has no physical presence at all. So human instinct places greater value on the book with its substantiality, and much less on the eBook's ephemerality.

Another reason is discounts. Walk into a Barnes & Noble (in the US) and most bestselling hardbacks will have a 30% OFF sticker slapped on 'em. That's enticing, even if the cost still remains above an eBook.

And, of course, once you're done with a physical book, you can loan it to a friend, pass it around the family, put it on a shelf as decoration, or sell it at a used book store to defray the cost of your next book. You can't do any of that with an eBook.

Lastly is just the experience. There's something about sitting quietly with a book, distant from any electronic device, enjoying the feel of the pages as they turn, that appeals to the senses, making the experience of reading more than just the reading. Or at least that is the case for me.

In the end, I know that for me, when I want to buy a book, I think first of a hard-bound copy. For example, there's a bio of Benedict Arnold from the 1990's that I'm interested in as research for a novel. I can get it today as an eBook, and even write the purchase off as a business expense. But I haven't done that, because I'd rather find a hard-bound copy. Does that make any real sense? Probably not. But that's where I am!

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2014 9:49 a.m. PST

Parzival, what Arnold bio are you seeking ? I have one
I'll gladly send to you gratis. Need some room on the
library shelves in the house…

Personal logo Dan Cyr Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2014 10:15 a.m. PST

I'll agree with Parzival to a certain point.

I've noticed that while I am still buying hard copy history books, or anything with pictures/maps/charts in it, I've moved my fictional reading entiredly over to ebooks.

Reference books, hard copy. Paper backs are now all ebooks, as well as any entertainment reading.


fred12df Inactive Member31 Mar 2014 10:37 a.m. PST

I've moved fiction almost totally to ebooks – predominately due to lack of space, as we already own huge numbers of books, and finding places to put the latest chunky tome was becoming a problem.

I also quite like that I can read at night without a light on, and that on occasion I can read a few pages on my phone while waiting somewhere.

For books with pictures and maps I do like a real book though.

Also for wargames rules I am favouring electronic copies more and more, mainly for searching and easy of jumping to different sections. Plus I don't need to go and find the book it's on my computer and it's on my iPad.

Space Monkey31 Mar 2014 10:39 a.m. PST

The thing I still like and prefer about books is that I can leave them around, toss them on a bed, treat them casually… and then at any moment just pick them up and begin reading, anywhere I want. No need to worry about battery running down or dropping them or avoiding reading in the bathtub with them. Pretty safe to assume no one is gonna break into my car to steal them, not too worried about leaving them in places that are too hot or too cold and on the off chance I do lose one… relatively cheap to replace.
Also, just that whole human thing of wanting to own quantities of physical stuff.

For gaming materials I ideally want to have both physical and digital. I still find it faster to search through a physical rulebook than a digital one… at least on my Ipad.

altfritz31 Mar 2014 10:39 a.m. PST

When the ebook fails – as it has to at some point – what do you do then? Books last for decades if not centuries, but I can't see any electronic gadget lasting that long. And what happens when the next file format comes along?

Garand31 Mar 2014 10:40 a.m. PST

I think the ebook model works fine for a book you might only ever read once, but if it is something that belongs in a library (like FREX history books or reference books), having that hard copy is IMHO important. Not the least of which is that having a hardback bugsquasher sitting on the shelf far less ephemeral as a bunch of bytes stored on an electronic device that might go obsolete in a few years, or in a cloud storage site and easily forgotten.


Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP31 Mar 2014 11:35 a.m. PST

The one thing nobody quantified in the ebook boom was the "cool" effect. This is a normal behaviour of luxury consumer markets; buying something because it is cool to buy it. Generally novelty and social caché cause a swell in this behaviour. Books already have this … many authors lament their own "best selling book that nobody has read" and there are always coffee-table books (books you buy so that people can see you have them, not necessarily to read).

Coffee table caché may be working against ebooks in its own right … what good is having XYZ's best seller if people aren't viscerally confronted with the fact that I have it?

Generally, I like to have both an electronic and physical version of books. Both have their advantages, and after all, too much is not enough.

Personal logo Ditto Tango 2 3 Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member31 Mar 2014 11:36 a.m. PST

When the ebook fails – as it has to at some point – what do you do then? Books last for decades if not centuries

Second hand electron shops, of course.

Space Monkey31 Mar 2014 11:49 a.m. PST

Coffee table caché may be working against ebooks in its own right … what good is having XYZ's best seller if people aren't viscerally confronted with the fact that I have it?
Same effect with being seen reading certain books… on the bus/subway, in the coffeehouse/lunchroom… as a conversation starter, impress your friends and neighbors with your intellectual fervor… or is just being seen reading (vs. texting or watching Youtube) impressive enough nowadays?
I suppose there will also be the fellows who, when asked what they're e-reading, will claim to be reading some hot new bit of erudition when really they're deep into some schlock fantasy novel.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2014 2:00 p.m. PST

Yup – I wouldn't want to live in a world where I couldn't have a well thumbed copy of The man in the high castle or 1984 sticking out of my back pocket !

Parzival31 Mar 2014 2:42 p.m. PST

Ed: PM sent.

I agree with the "conversation starter" element. Plus, browsing a book store just has a great appeal, too. I know I can kill hours just wandering around a bookstore, seeing what they have. Though in the long run that might be a generational thing.

I do like my iPad for rulebook references. I have the various Warmaster texts that GW used to offer all loaded up on it. However, I tend to reference my Battle of Five Armies book a lot, as it has the corrected rules and the native spells and stats, and that's the setting I game most. So it's kind of a wash…

Terrement Inactive Member31 Mar 2014 3:29 p.m. PST

I far prefer real books, but space is a factor, and books work great when I'm on my frequent travels. I can have history, horror, westerns, classics, mysteries, etc. all on the same device at the same time – lightweight and small space.

But overall, prefer and collect books.


Sergeant Paper31 Mar 2014 3:31 p.m. PST

The former owner of a bookstore chain said, "Anyone who tells you they know the future is telling you the most grotesque lie, because none of us do."

He also said, "The traditional, physical book is hanging on. I'm absolutely sure we will be here in 40 years' time."

so what he's saying is that he doesn't know anything.

napthyme Sponsoring Member of TMP31 Mar 2014 4:07 p.m. PST

The music industry is once again pressing LP records, so if they can come back anything can.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian31 Mar 2014 5:46 p.m. PST

I only buy physical books now if I have to, or if there is a very good sale…

Some other name Inactive Member31 Mar 2014 8:51 p.m. PST

In the period reported in a link in the article, paperback book revenue continued to decline but still outpaced hardback and ebooks. Ebooks had slightly more revenue than hardbacks.

The decline in ebooks was due in part to a large drop in children's ebooks revenue. Adult ebook revenue increased in the reporting period but not enough to cover the childrens loses.

Another reason for the decline in ebook revenue is that the average price for best sellers has actually declined over the past few years. link

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP01 Apr 2014 4:05 a.m. PST

I always thought chidren's books would transfer poorly to ereaders – think of all those wonderful oversized books, packed with vibrant colours with lift the flaps or different textured papers or……

….how could that work on an ereader ??

Andrew Preziosi Supporting Member of TMP01 Apr 2014 6:56 a.m. PST

Ebooks are here to stay. I love my NOOK and there are too (and were) too many Free sources of Rare and Hard to Find .pdf Acrobat History books out there (Google Books, not to take advantage of.

I also have some pretty good novels (Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Military) courtesy of Gutenberg, the old Baen Freebie CDs available to upload too.

Coupled with so many Kindle Freebie's, articles and everything else that permits you to, literally, carry a library with you…E-books will continue.

By the same token though, I hope paper based book sales also continue to rise, everyone benefits.

It's odd that Comic/Graphic novel E-books do well in electronic format and Childrens books don't, but I'll go with what 20th Maine said…a children's book done right just can't transfer to Electronic format.

BTW, I have three NOOKS, including the original. My B&N store owner saw me the other day downloading some books for it and asked me why I still had it.

I explained to her that I spend much of the weekend outdoors at Deering Estate and the first gen NOOK is the original "paper white" (actually PB greyish) version and allows me to read it while under a tree or in the sunlight while watching all the action on Biscayne Bay.

I may have to get a Kindle paperwhite this year for the same reason, but as long as I need a book I can read in the sunlight or shade, then that first gen. Nook stays with me.

altfritz01 Apr 2014 10:15 a.m. PST

I always thought chidren's books would transfer poorly to ereaders – think of all those wonderful oversized books, packed with vibrant colours with lift the flaps or different textured papers or……

…how could that work on an ereader ??

Or "pop-up" books?

Martin Rapier04 Apr 2014 5:47 a.m. PST

There will probably always be a place for 'proper' books, but I haven't bought a physical novel for years, they are all e-books. I only read most of them once, why waste the shelf space?

I reserve my valuable shelf space for actual useful books – mainly military history, as well as collections of rare books and stuff like my Patrick O'Briens. The minute the latter are available as a full collection on Kindle, the paper versions are going to the local charity shop.

wrt the 'devices not working', I synch them to multiple different devices, and it is the publishers responsibility to ensure format compatibility. Not my problem.

At the end of the day it is just a cloud storage solution and just another way of consuming content, although it does of course promote market segmentation and differential pricing. Well whatever, that is global capitalism for you.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Apr 2014 5:22 a.m. PST

One advantage of the e-books is the small size and light weight. I was thinking about re-reading Chandler's "Campaigns of Napoleon" but the thought of lugging around that enormous volumne in my work bag was daunting. Unfortunately, I then discovered that the e-book version costs more than what I paid for the hardback :)

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP03 May 2014 11:48 p.m. PST

I'm writing this on my mini Ipad which has a lot of books downloaded onto it.
As I've been traveling for the past 5 weeks, this has meant I can access magazines at will in some very isolated spots eg the Hebrides, read a wide selection of all types of books without lugging around an extra suitcase and even read TMP when I can get service or Wi Fi.
Fantastic invention that won't replace hard copies of books but certainly has it's place. It's a one-stop shop.

Earl of the North16 Jan 2015 8:27 a.m. PST

I've no room for any more physical books and I regularly carry around a couple of kindles full of books (couple of thousand books) so I've largely switched to e-book only.

tkdguy17 Jan 2015 6:16 p.m. PST

I can't read e-books all the way through. They just put me off for some reason. I much prefer print.

Great War Ace Inactive Member12 Feb 2015 7:01 p.m. PST

I am very put off by the price of more and more Ebooks, as much or more than many paperbacks. What's up with that? Greed….

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