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I think the belief that books will inevitably be completely replaced by ebooks is a misguided one. I think it's inevitable that they will become the predominant format, but not the only one. Like MP3s, CDs and Vinyl, the formats will co-exist, meeting different needs for different people. Some people, like myself, will always prefer a physical artifact. No doubt as the years go on, this will become less an issue for future generations, but there will always be a market for older formats. The majority of books make very little money already, sales being counted in hundreds, not millions. Reducing prices at this stage in the game is a very risky strategy for publishers. Reducing prices does not automatically lead to raising sales. A book, no matter the format or the cost, still requires an investment of time on the part of the buyer. If cost led to more people choosing to read a book then a lot more writers would be receiving money from libraries, where the cost to the person choosing the book is zero. Reducing costs of ebooks brings a real risk of cutting the already small amount of money a title generates. Possible consequences are that publishing houses are less likely to take risks, there is less money and opportunities available for new writers and the market becomes even more saturated with celebrity memoirs, Twilight books and whatever you call those things that Dan Brown has thrown words at. No argument that ebooks have to be at least as well presented as their physical counterparts, but the pricing situation is not a straightforward one.
Commented Apr 10, 2012 on
Books: Bits vs. Atoms
Books: Bits vs. Atoms
I adore words, but let's face it: books suck. More specifically, so many beautiful ideas have been helplessly trapped in physical made-of-atoms books for the last few centuries. How do books suck? Let me count the ways: They are heavy. They take up too much space. They have to be printed. ...
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