The future of publishing is in e-books, at least that’s what I keep reading. However, my professors in editing and publishing hesitate to make that same claim. And, after doing a bit of research, I can see why. Yes, publishing electronic content has become very huge; people can download this content onto their smartphones or tablets and take it with them anywhere.
Most of the users who read e-books will still buy physical copies of books as well. I, too, am one of those people. I have a Kindle Fire, and I love that I can purchase books without needing to go to a bookstore, which is great because the nearest Barnes and Noble is thirty minutes away from my house. That being said, I don’t buy a lot of books on my Kindle. I get the public domain books because they are free, and I will occasionally buy a bargain book when the price is right. However, when it comes to a book that I know I will want to read again or lend to friends or family members, I will buy the printed book. I know some people that will only buy the physical copies of books. And, despite the convenience of e-books, they will never consider letting go of their physical books or trying a device such as an e-reader.
This article from the Wallstreet Journal reported at the beginning of the year that brought up a good point: e-books are just another format. They serve a different purpose from the physical copies of books. So, just because there is a large, growing market for e-books, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the market for printed books will shrink and disappear for good.