Friday, 20 May 2011

The Book is Dead, Long Live The Book

Newspapers, TV and blogs around the world pick up on the latest stats of e-book sales and queue up in delight to tell us that the book is dead. Or is, at the very least, dying.

Dying, my arse.

The problem with stats is that you can get them to say pretty much what you like because the real news people is that although e-book sales are rising at an incredible rate, that is from a standing start. Make no mistake they are still a LOOOOONG way away from the total sales of hold in your hand, paper bound, old-fashioned ones.

I was watching a news programme where the interviewer was desperately trying to ignore what the book industry spokesman was saying when he highlighted the fact that total ebook sales are around 6% of paper ones. Because the presenter clearly follows the modern media dictum that says it ain’t news if it ain’t bad news.

Pisses me off, and each time I hear it I throw the closest thing to hand at the TV. Which is usually a book. Funny that.

These worry-monger also point to the music industry and how it was affected by downloads. Again, pish and piffle. Sure downloads have affected record sales but the truth is that MOST people still buy actual CDs.

I’ve got my e-reader but a real book is still where it’s at for me. I’ve downloaded a handful of books onto my kindle. Well , maybe two handfuls. However, in the meantime I’ve bought at least double that and been sent the same again in review copies. Sure my e-reader is a nice wee gadget but when it comes to settling down for a read I kinda almost forget that it’s there and pick up a nicely packaged bundle of paper.

Sure, you’d be a fool to ignore the continued impact of digital books but we are good distance from them ever killing off the traditional version.

What about you guys? Have you bought an e-reader and if so how has it changed your reading habits?


  1. I agree with you 100% Michael. There is room in this world for all formats of books and reading. E-readers are fantastic things and they have their application in travel and casual reading - for study too, why should students need to buy expensive textbooks or haul them around all day? But the paperbook - it's a joy to hold and a pleasure to collect. Dead, dying? My arse too. Long live the book!

  2. I read both - ebooks and traditional books and would agree with everything you say Michael, otherwise why would I be sitting in my study at peril from the piles of books that will someday fall and obliterate me. BTW where did you get your gravestone pic?

  3. Completely agree with all the above! I love my kindle and have lots of books on it (many still to read) and it's so easy to hold in bed.

    But... I'm also reading a big, lovely paperback just now and remembering all the reasons why it will never be either or for me - it will be both for different experiences.

  4. Go, Janice!

    Chris, I googled dead and book and got hunners of wee j-pegs.

    Rosemary, I'm always curious about what people are reading. I'm the man beside you on the train trying to peer over your shoulder and get a peek. At your book of course. So, what is this lovely big paperback?

  5. E-readers aren't that much available in my country, and we only had the first E-book published in Serbia this month, so if the real books die any time soon, they will live long and happily for decades to come here at Balkans :)

  6. It's 'Company of Liars' by Karen Maitland. She judged the Constable at the SAW this year - a lovely woman - and I bought her book. I love medieval crime (or romance) and her characters, setting and details are brilliant so far.

  7. Dez, you aren't missing much.

    Rosemary - meant to put that on my (huge) TBR list.

  8. I'm surprised at how much I enjoy using my kindle but I see it as a tool that helps me read books I wouldn't pick up in a shop. Choices are limited in shops nowadays!

  9. They certainly are if all you have nearby are supermarkets, Ricky.