The digital world has revolutionized the way we consume information. We are now able to read books without any physical support, provided that the books in question are available as an e-book or an audiobook. Yes, audiobooks have taken the world by storm, and it seems they are here to stay. However, along with all of this comes a lot of questions. Some people may be wondering whether ebooks will take over books entirely; others might be asking themselves whether ebook or audiobook is better. A lot of us still feel confused about what might come in the future, and whether we should invest money in one type of reading material over another. This piece aims to shed some light on this complicated matter
When Did eBooks Start to Become Popular?
With the release of the Amazon Kindle in 2007, ebooks started to gain more popularity. The Kindle was a dedicated device for reading ebooks and came with free 3G access for downloading books. It also had a battery life of up to a week. In 2009, Amazon released the Kindle 2 with improved hardware, better navigation and larger storage capacity. A few months after the release of the Kindle 2, Amazon released the Kindle DX which had a larger screen and was designed specifically for textbooks.
The e-reader market exploded after 2010 with more companies releasing their own devices such as Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Sony Reader and Kobo Reader. In 2010, Apple released its iPad which became one of the most popular devices for reading ebooks since it had a large colour screen and didn’t require users to be tied to a specific vendor such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble (although Apple does sell books through its iBooks Store).
Ebook sales continued to grow throughout 2011 and 2012 as more people got tablets and smartphones that made reading easier than ever before. However, ebook sales plateaued in 2015 and are now declining as more people prefer audiobooks over physical books or ebook versions of their favourite novels.
What about audiobooks?
Audiobooks have been around for a while, but they’ve only recently become popular. In the past, audiobooks were limited by the technology available. As a result, people had to sit at home and listen to audiobooks on their CD players or MP3 players.
The advent of smartphones, cloud computing and data plans has made audiobooks more accessible to the general public. Nowadays, you can listen to an audiobook anywhere: in your car, on your commute or even at the gym.
Audiobook sales doubled from 2014 to 2016, according to The New York Times. That’s a pretty impressive growth rate for such a short period of time!
And for good reason too — audiobooks are super convenient.
Can I still enjoy the feel of turning a page or the smell of a book?
The ebooks are here to stay. However, the traditional paper books will always be around. Humans have a need to touch and hold an object. The feel of turning the page is an experience that cannot be replicated with technology. The smell of a new book or the smell of an old one is not something that can be reproduced in an ebook.
Many people love to collect books and show them off on their shelves. It is a way to show off who they are and what they like in life. Stacks of books around a room make a person look smart and sophisticated. You do not get that from ebooks!
Another reason ebooks are here to stay is due to the cost. Ebooks are usually much cheaper than hardback or paperback versions of the same book. This is because there are no printing costs for ebooks, and no shipping costs if you buy them online.
There are also some people who do not enjoy reading at all but love listening to audiobooks. For these people, it does not matter if their device can fold into their pocket, or fits in the palm of their hand, what matters is whether it allows them to listen to the book they want without having to carry around a bulky CD case or cassette player
Will books and writing ever go away?
This is a question that I have been asked time and time again.
The simple answer is no.
Books are more popular than ever, but the way we consume books is changing. The majority of book sales now come from eBooks, audiobooks and Kindle, but that doesn’t mean physical books will go away.
Becoming a published author has evolved over the years. Now it’s easier than ever to get your work out into the world because of self-publishing services such as Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).
In the past, it was difficult to get your book in front of an audience because you had to convince a literary agent or publishing company to accept your book.
The traditional route required you to publish with a publishing house, which took a lot of time and effort. The process included writing multiple drafts of each chapter, getting feedback from editors and then making revisions before being accepted for publication.
As we reach the end of this post, I’m sure you’ve come to some conclusions about digital books and bookstores on your own. For me, it’s all about variety. I love being able to choose audiobooks over ebooks or vice versa. At the end of the day, there really is no perfect way to read a book before bed anymore. I just hope someone figures out how to bring back real bookstores with a thriving community of readers with us.