Book Sellers Who Refuse to Go Digital – The End of the Digital Apocalypse?

The Digital Apocalypse, Delayed


The New York Times (9/22/15) reports slowing e-book sales as the “digital apocalypse” that didn’t happen. “Five years ago, the book world was seized by collective panic over the uncertain future of print,” reporter Alexandra Alter writes. “Publishers and authors feared that cheaper e-books would cannibalize their business.”
But the metaphorical cannibal apocalypse has failed to materialize, as “digital sales have instead slowed sharply.” What’s the explanation for the “surprising resilience of print”? Consumer preference, is the main story the Times tells: “Young readers who are digital natives still prefer reading on paper” and “e-reading devices fell out of fashion.” Thank goodness for people’s undeniable love of good old-fashioned real books, is the underlying tone.
Then, three-quarters of the way through the lengthy piece, the real economics of the publishing industry appear:
Higher e-book prices may also be driving readers back to paper.
As publishers renegotiated new terms with Amazon in the past year and demanded the ability to set their own e-book prices, many have started charging more. With little difference in price between a $13 e-book and a paperback, some consumers may be opting for the print version.
On Amazon, the paperback editions of some popular titles, like The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, are several dollars cheaper than their digital counterparts. Paperback sales rose by 8.4 percent in the first five months of this year, the Association of American Publishers reported.

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11 thoughts on “Book Sellers Who Refuse to Go Digital – The End of the Digital Apocalypse?

  1. Pingback: Book Sellers Who Refuse to Go Digital – The End of the Digital Apocalypse? | Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

  2. It is hard to justify the costs of e-books. Yet, if an author prices them too low the public in their wisdom decides it must be junk and ignores it.
    There is definitely a trend towards both, in my experience. Readers go for the e-books, but then buy the ones they particularly enjoy in hard copy.


    • In 2014, the explosion of ebook sales slowed. Between 2007 and 2014, the number of ebooks sold in the United States tripled. But the first quarter of 2014 saw a leveling off for kindle books, and a slight resurgence in print book sales. Unfortunately, no comprehensive data about total book sales is available publicly, so these numbers are extrapolations from individual book store and chain book store figures, but it does appear that hard copy books are back in fashion.


      • I think those extrapolations give an accurate picture. It is quite significant to notice, locally, that one of the few types of non-chain shops that have survived the supermarket (and chain-bookshop) era, are those family or private businesses selling books.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. There will always be a market for both. Ereading is handy, also many don’t have to capacity to store many physical books. As for print, as a writer, I prefer all my writing books in print for easy marking up and reference. And when I buy a traditionally published novel, I always by print. For the money charged on those ebooks, I prefer to have a tangible copy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Book Sellers Who Refuse to Go Digital – The End of the Digital Apocalypse? | Have We Had Help?

  5. Big 5 pricing is just leaving themselves out. Indie publishing is thriving. Standards are getting stricter through self and group efforts. I’ll always read both, but no way would I either charge or pay over a fiver for a single story book. 10 for a trilogy.

    Liked by 1 person

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