For the Love of Print – E-Books Don’t Yet Rule the World

The Caxton Celebration - William Caxton showing specimens of his printing to King Edward IV and his Queen

The Caxton Celebration – William Caxton showing specimens of his printing to King Edward IV and his Queen

Since my publishing team and I have decided that self-publishing is the best route for us, I’ve been speaking with a few people on the subject. Since this is not my first foray into self-publishing, I’m putting together a plan that includes print books. When I speak to fellow self-publishing writers and authors I get the sense that most of them plan on publishing only e-books.

This is a mistake.

Yes, e-books are all the rage and margin on e-books can be higher. And, you might hear experts exclaim, “E-books are single-handedly changing the publishing industry.” But, if you hear, “Nobody reads physical books anymore,” you can be assured that it’s hyperbole at best. The truth is far more in-depth and print books are still very important.

First, let’s take a look at the claim that e-books are changing the world. In 2014, e-books didn’t even account for one quarter of books sales (23%). Plus, the growth of e-book sales slowed to “single digit growth” in 2013. Granted, growth is growth and e-books are still a trend. If people were saying they weren’t going to produce an ebook, I’d be writing an equally worded counter-post. Suffice-it-to-say, 77% of books purchased in 2014 were printed on paper.

Next, let’s look forward on the ol’ print-to-paper technology. When it comes to teens and young adults, print books still rule the roost. According to different studies by both Nielsen and Pew Research, teens and young adults prefer print books and traditional libraries.

“But, I’m not writing a YA novel, why does that matter?” The teen and young adult years don’t last long, but the habits they form now will last into adult life. Their tastes in books may begin to include your book in 2-5 years, wouldn’t you like to have a print book available to them?

Young people are also likely to find information in print books to be more accurate and more reliable. If an author is writing non-fiction, they should take this into account.

Finally, there are some drawbacks to e-books for readers of all ages. Reading e-books reduces comprehension and using e-readers at night has adverse affects on sleep. Plus, it’s difficult to avoid multi-tasking and reduced attention when reading an e-book.

So, are you planning on e-book only? Which do you prefer when you have reading to do? Don’t be afraid to admit you prefer print books.

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2 thoughts on “For the Love of Print – E-Books Don’t Yet Rule the World

  • I enjoy the Kindle my son gave me but there are still some books I have to have in print. I have to admit if I had more room – they would all be print books!

    • That’s interesting. I find that, as I get older, I have less and less need for print books. Whereas my boys seem delighted to have print books and really shy away from Kindles/Nooks.

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