The book industry was rocked to its foundations last month when Tim Waterstone, founder of UK bookstore chain Waterstones, predicted the end of the eBook revolution in the UK. According to ‘The Telegraph’ he insists that the eBook is a declining fad, and that traditional printed paper books are not only as strong as ever, but are here to stay.
“The product is so strong, the interest in reading is so deeply rooted in the culture and human soul of this country that it is immovable. The traditional, physical book is hanging on. I’m absolutely sure we will be here in 40 years’ time.” Tim Waterstone
What Does Stephen King Think?
When asked whether fiction books in the future would remain the same as they are now, the bestselling author replied unequivocally: “Absolutely they will not.”
In this 2 minute video, Stephen King reveals his thoughts on writing, whether traditionally printed paper books will survive, and also what will happen to book store chains.
Do I Agree With Tim Waterstone, Or Stephen King?
I was brought up with paper books, and I’m permanently addicted to their texture and feel. I love them, obsessively.
To the right is the cover of a richly illustrated book ‘The Invention Of Hugo Cabret’ by Brian Selznick that I bought recently. It’s a beautiful, tactile and desirable object I can pick up and riffle through.
Even more rewarding is that I can display one of my own works with pride on my coffee table, give one to a friend, or present a signed copy to a colleague – like a business card on steroids.
Furthermore, I see libraries full of whispering readers as great temples to the importance of the printed word.
But… I’m not immune to reality
On Amazon, eBooks are crushing traditionally printed paper books. In fact, according to Sci-Fi writer Hugh Howey on his ‘Author Earnings’ site, 86% of the top 2,500 genre fiction best-sellers in the Amazon store are e-books.
And for the top bestsellers, the dominance of e-books is even more startling: 92% of the top-100 best-selling books are e-books.
The reason for this is the uber-low price of eBooks, instant accessibility and the convenience of carrying hundreds of books in one small reader device.
Given this evidence, I suspect Stephen King is correct, because as he points out, a story will transcend any current media.
The bottom line is that irrespective of whether traditional printed books survive, or eBooks rule the literary cosmos, you’ll still be required to promote them.
Where do you feel the future of paper books lies? I’d be interested to know your opinion.
Which path are you taking with your own books? Do you think eBooks will win? Or paper books? Please do leave a comment.
Article written by Jonathan Gunson
Author / Book Marketing Coach
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