EBook or print. Crusty sentimentality or pure practicality?
Waterstones have just announced a profit, albeit on children’s books – well, if you want to make some profit there’s the best way to go! Not to mention all the other stuff they sell. Children’s books. Now there’s something to get your teeth going, isn’t it?
Publishers are reluctant to say how they sell, on what genre etc. So, it’s difficult to conclude anything. The BBC has recorded a drop in eBook sales of 0.1% – is this more to do with austerity perhaps? Taking all the evidence in tow (how much credulity to put on this, is your guess) it seems that eBooks are on the decline and print books are all in an upsurge of sales. Well, that’s the upsurge.
One thing I do know, is that Waterson’s are not keeping piles of books and neither is W H Smiths, this tells you something. In light of all this are eBooks really in decline? My own books (fiction) seem to be levelling out, the same for eBook as for the printed version. All in all, I can’t make as solid statement on anything at all – and I don’t trust publishers at all (dealing with them is enough of a nightmare in itself!).
Reading is down, full stop. We have a generation that is only click clicking and this may well be the cause. It might be that all this is well, but I’m not so sure. What happens with degrees, what happens with general learning? In my opinion, it is all downhill. I was talking with a Professor of Law the other day and asked him whether his students were all doing the classic legal texts that I used to have to do. He laughed and said in your dreams. This a fact I (I don’t write ‘fake’ news).
It’s troubling, more than troubling. Life is more about Tweeting and Facebook, heaven help us. I don’t bother with either, you’ll pleased to know – on second thoughts, I don’t know whether you will be pleased to hear that, but there you are!
EBooks are cheaper and inexpensive – although publishers keep the price up. I don’t understand why but there we are. Is it about saturation? There are is more self-published work on the internet that ever before. Is it about democratising? I’m not so sure. Is it about the emotional connection between the reader and the print books? This is another that is for the reader to decide.
I can say this: Reading is for an intellectual elite – that sounds bad doesn’t it? An elite that is fast declining. What we are all going to do about it, I just don’t know.
Buy more eBooks I suppose.