Sunday, 1 September 2013

Will e-books kill off print books?

There's no escaping that fact that internet shopping has changed the way consumers shop. I just went online and purchased e-books for a few schools and some vitamins. Internet shopping grants consumers the convenience to order what we want ,when we want it, and as an added bonus we get a 'gift at the end. It's only natural that e-book sales have surged - they are after all a direct product of the click-click age. 

Both e-books and paperbacks/hardcovers books have their place in our lives. We shouldn't feel the need to pit one against the other.

But the question on many writers, editors, publishers, and readers minds is: will e-books kill off print books?

My answer is NO.

Why? Because it astounds me that some people out there like to think that the rest of us are happy to choose only one way of doing things. This just isn't what makes us human. As a writer I study human behaviours and motivators. And I have to say, I rarely meet a person who, when asked if they want either the entrĂ©e or the main, doesn't wear a puzzled look on their face as they ask why they can't have both. We're used to doing things many ways. How many times have we gone shopping and when faced with the choice of either this or that have come home with both.

Perhaps purists would disagree with me, and that's fine because using my philosophy, we also can't function as a society with only hybrids. We need both hybrids and purists.

In my opinion, e-readers won't replace real books any more than the microwave has replaced the conventional oven. Rather, the two items compliment each other. They both serve functions in the home and I haven't been into a home that doesn't have both. The bathtub was not killed off by the shower. The bicycle was not killed off by the motor vehicle. And the pencil was not killed off by the pen. We continue to use multiple ways to do the same thing because we can and because we like it that way. It's also human nature to flock to new technology. We love finding new ways to do things or having them done for us. Doesn't mean that we're all so fickle that we toss out the old with the new. At least I don't.

In summary, I think the increase of e-books into the marketplace do is only a small part of this new way consumers buy products. Consumers will still buy real books, they just might do it online more than they used to. Until the next way to read books comes along, that is...


D L Richardson is the author of speculative fiction. She has three teen novels and one short story anthology published. Her first novel reached number 2 at OmniLit and number 38 at Kobo Books. Her second reached number 1 at OmniLit. Little Red Gem is her third novel and recently won 2nd place Best Books of 2013 Paranormal Cravings. She lives in Australia on the NSW south coast with her husband and dog.

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