The future of paper books

Ebook sales down, says Nielsen Research.


Remember that discussion (mostly that worried discussion) about the future of paper books?  Remember predictions how ebooks would “never quite” replace paper books because there would still always be some crazy collectors around?

Well, it seems that worldwide, the crazy collectors are in the 75% majority.

Ebook sales soared exponentially these past few years, but for the first time now they have levelled off and in some places, dropped back.  Why?  Could it be the practices of certain places of removing an ebook off your Kindle without your say-so?  Could it be that readers started to be data-mined for preferences, reading habits, etc while they were reading, and the information used to fine-tune ad targeting?  Could it be that the NSA …  but ah, no, I’m now fantasizing.

Still somehow the feel of a good book between our fingers has not been replaced by, no matter how cute and convenient, a Kindle or Tablet.  Despite market forces doing their worst  best.

Could it be (horrors) that there were links in the text that took you right out of the story and elsewhere?  Could “Vibrant Ads” have got into the ebooks?

I still think ebooks are a fantastic idea.  I wish every school in the world would make them available (and the readers alongside).  For free.  Imagine kids only needing a schoolbag for their writing utensils, art supplies and lunchbox, not to lug tons of books about.  These days they don’t even use schoolbags, they use caddies like in golf.  That stuff looks like dustbins on wheels, but I guess if they’d been around when I was a kid I’d have given my left eye-tooth for one.

It’s funny how a few years back we still stressed whether paper books would be around, and now bold statements are made such as, “we always knew ebooks wouldn’t replace paper books” … really?  Did we?


you know where to get them!!  🙂


And here is a sneak peek into one of our authors’ novels:


by Leslie Hyla Winton Noble





5 thoughts on “The future of paper books

  1. Here we are caught betwixt and between ( I have wanted to write that phrase for like forever!!…doll )

    Technology verses the ”Old Ways”
    Anyhow, if children are going to be encouraged to love and respect books at an early age this must include the tactile sensation of holding and reading an actual book ( I believe) be it a maths textbook or Shakespeare.
    Maybe only the encouragement of reading need be instilled?

    For now, it is important not to let this love of books slip. Already we are entering an age where the skill of writing – and it is a skill – is diminishing.
    If everyone is using a laptop or tablet what will happen to pens and pencils?

    I wouldn’t want to even guess the share price of companies such as Parker, or Shaeffer.

    For me, I am happy to read a (proper) book. But then I don’t own a Kindle…so…..*shrugs*

    • There are pros and cons.

      Agreed about the tactile experience of a paper book. We have a cupboard full of lovely kiddie books with the most beautiful illustrations, and also, I used to read to the kids quite a lot. Now that they are all bigger (even Meggi is 10) they are bookworms.

      My brother gave my kids electronics – DS Nintendos for the little ones and Robbie for her fourteenth bday, a netbook. The craze with the games on the Nintendos didn’t last overly long; Meggi mostly used hers to read all the ebooks on it (Gutenberg Project classics such as “Treasure Island” and “Mobi Dick”), and to play around with the camera. These days she’s mostly stuck with her nose in some paper book, where Robin’s read her way through all the free ebooks she could find online. It’s really not about the medium but the content for them. Ray now owns a tablet (he saved up until he could buy one) and once again, the one thing he uses it for most is reading books.

      It’s really not about paper vs ebook if one looks closely. Humans have loved stories forever, in whatever format they can get them. This is why good advertising also often uses a mini story.

  2. Tantalising preview there. Are talking cats common in South Africa? :D. Great sketch at the beginning too.

    I easily prefer paperbacks although I did whizz through an ebook on Sunday for a review. As it happens it was a timely read because she is having a sale next month. I’m surprised people make any money out of ebooks.

    I’ve succumbed to an iPad – which does make reading easier than on the laptop – primarily because I’m sofa-ridden for six weeks and the lap top was quite cumbersome. I also happen to have Adam Nicholson’s Sea Room open next to me (in hard copy) on the sofa.

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