Ebooks and the stats

“Given the proliferation of e-Books and the discussions about the future of print books, the results demonstrate that only 4% of Americans are ‘e-Book only’ readers. Only 28% of Americans have ever read an e-Book and e-Book readers also read print books. Additionally, as the Survey results indicate, people prefer the two formats in different circumstances. People traveling prefer e-Books because they are portable and baggage restrictions don’t apply to them. Print books are ideal for reading to children and for sharing with friends and family. So, the two formats tend to be more complementary than competitive.

The contest between offering free e-Books through libraries and publishers’ fear of losing sales has been brought to rest by another surprising revelation. Active library users also tend to be the most active book buyers, print or e-Book. So, free e-Books in libraries do not actually drive down sale figures.”

from http://www.webjunction.org/news/webjunction/pew-research-center-7-surprising-facts-about-libraries.html

Just this weekend I purchased some e-books in a series which I like. I got epub format so they would go on my phone in the Bluefire app, and give me something to read during odd moments, usually while waiting for something. At the same time, I am reading print format books from the public library, part of the time while digitizing my phonograph records for music in my vehicle (since operating a phonograph-based stereo system in a moving vehicle is, if anything, even more unsafe than texting). All of that is consistent with the Pew results above (excepting the digitizing stuff).

And there is the argument that some have been making for a while now that e-books will take over and print will/has become obsolete. Thomas A. Edison did not predict that, but he predicted that the phonograph record would replace books (you know, those little wax cylinders — oh, wait, that changed to flat discs), and then motion pictures, and poor old Tom still didn’t have it right when we moved to DVDs of movies, and then streaming videos. The fact is, we have multiple formats because we have multiple uses, and multiple contents, and changing technologies, and personal preferences. Even the inventors cannot predict how long a new format will last. That’s why I’m digitizing my old phonograph records.

While the big publishers are reporting that e-book sales have been falling in 2015, or at least flattening (which is disputed elsewhere as only referring to those publishers sales), it seems that multiple formats will remain in the future. Which formats are available may shift, but versatility continues to be the preference of enough users/buyers that require that flexibility. Print, however, continues to endure and even thrive.

I already have several series that I have read various volumes in print and in e-book format. It’s a little harder to keep track of, but it allows me to use the format that is convenient/cost-effective at the moment.

And so it goes…