What’s Happening to eBooks Now?
“Is it the end of the road for eBooks?” casts light on the slow-down in eBook sales, noting that “new figures collected from over 1,200 publishers worldwide seem to indicate that eBook sales fell by 10 per cent in the first half of 2015.” In addition, Makhni says that “while the sales of e-reader devices hit an all-time high in 2011, that number dropped by about 25 per cent in 2014.”
Moreover, publishers are constructing or acquiring more printing and storage capabilities for print books, and new book stores are opening. What gives? Makhni notes that only the print book has survived the digital onslaught, unlike newspapers, television, music, and film.
Makhni believes that eBooks should be priced considerably less than print books based on their cost to create, store (free), and transport (also free) compared to their hard-copy cousins. This, Makhni says, points to the greed and mismanagement of the digital book phenomenon, which in many cases has set eBook prices at or above those of print books, making their adoption less enthusiastic.
In addition, Makhni challenges the assumption that younger readers who grew up in a digital world would still prefer digital books. This hasn’t been happening. “Digital natives” still seem to prefer eBooks for traveling and print books for home use. In addition, even for younger readers, reading a back-lit screen tires the eyes more than reading a printed page.
Finally, Makhni notes that the “eBook should be able to do far more than just look up words, take a few notes and mark something with a highlighter.” The capabilities exist, but they have not yet been applied to their fullest to distinguish the eBook from the print book.