Ebooks have been a growing segment of the book industry, to the point where they’re crowding out print books, and we hear all the time that the death of the book is just around the corner. The popularity of ebooks, e-readers and tablets is straining the publishing market, and soon it will crack, leading to a chaotic state similar to the one the music industry has been going through since Napster. Right?
Well, not quite. Not even that close, really.
And really, there’s no reason that one format should destroy the other. There’s room for both, and both have their advantages, as this graphic from Newsweek shows.
The New York Times published the results of a survey which shows that while ebooks certainly have been gaining popularity at an increasing rate, they’re in no danger of pushing good old fashioned print off the market just yet. The study notes that in 2008 ebooks were 0.6% of the market, while in 2010 they’d grown to 6.4% of the market. That type of expansion is certainly a testament to the success of the format, but it also shows that ebooks aren’t dominant yet. As the article notes, ebooks should continue to gain in popularity as e-readers become more affordable and more books are published either in print and electronically, or only as ebooks. Tablets of course have myriad other uses, and books are far from the only things being published out there, so don’t take this as a refutation of mobile technology. I want a tablet. I want a tablet AND an e-reader. But not because I won’t be able to find books in print in the next 5 or 10 years. I want them because they’re awesome.