According to a new study released just last week, Americans are reading more e-books and fewer print books. This news should come as no surprise. With the rise in popularity we’ve seen in tablets and e-readers, this trend has been happening for the past few years. We now find ourselves on the precipice of a landmark event: the day e-book reading supplants print book reading as the majority. And many analysts believe that day to be coming in either 2014 or 2015.
But why is this? What is the draw for e-readers over traditional printed books? While it may be difficult to determine one specific factor, there are several contributing factors.
- Less space needed. Like many of you, I have a substantial-sized library of printed books I have gathered over the years. If I chose to do so, I could electronically store the entire library in cloud-based storage and access them through one small device. The space saved by e-readers and tablets when travelling is yet another benefit.
- Increased interactivity. A printed book can provide only what is printed on its pages. E-books can provide interactive content, website links, video and audio content, and much more. E-books can offer more than just written words. They have the ability to provide a full multimedia experience.
- Sharing potential of the content is increased. From most e-readers and tablets, not only can you read your book, you can share quotes and your thoughts online as you read. From a marketing perspective, what publisher wouldn’t love to have hundreds of readers sharing what they like best about the books they publish as they read them? There are few products that provide such an experience.
- Searchable notes. While journaling notes is an effective way of documenting your thoughts as you read, what could be better than having those notes become easily searchable?
- Cost effectiveness. If you are an avid reader, the cost effectiveness of an e-reader or tablet will eventually become a bonus for you. Because there is no physical product to print, bind, and ship, e-books are almost always cheaper to purchase than their printed versions.
These reasons and the supporting research, while not cause for alarm, are changing the publishing and retail landscape. Some would argue the change is for the better. And some would not.
While I do not see the end of the printed book anytime in the near future, I do see a future where the printed book and the e-book coexist to provide the same content to different audiences. That’s one of many reasons why we recently released the LifeWay Reader.
Do you have a tablet or e-reader? What factors led you to use it instead of reading printed books?