Every author who cares about their sales should pay close attention to what’s happening with children’s eBook sales, and understand what this means for the future of all books.
According to Digital Book World’s latest report ‘The ABCs of Kids and eBooks’, over half of all U.S. children aged two-to-thirteen are not only reading, but 85% of them are using eReaders, with tablets being the preferred choice.
This is more than double the number of U.S. adults e-reading, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
…If children are the future, then ebooks are the future of the publishing industry.”
Digital Book World report: ‘The ABCs of Kids and eBooks’
Authors Who Insist On ‘Traditional Publishing’ Risk Becoming Invisible
If for one moment you think that when these children become adults they’re going to quit using their shiny, story enhanced eReaders and go back to paper books, think again. They may be 9 year-olds right now, but in a mere 7 years they’ll be 16 and reading voraciously, and it won’t be traditional paper books.
This is the key point I’m making in this article:- Future adults won’t be reading printed paper books, but will all read using eReader devices.
Furthermore, the price of the reading devices is going to fall precipitously in the next few years.
The Kindle started at $399 then dropped to $199, and can now be acquired for $89. This process is not going to stop – especially with the number of eReader competitors springing up. Look for the $19.99 eReader within the next 3 or 4 years.
Think About It: We Only Read Paper Books Because We’re Trained That Way
We were all brought up reading traditional paper books, and as adults continue to love the life-long familiarity of this. We have been trained. By contrast, the next generation is being brought up with eBooks that contain an Aladdin’s cave of fascinating additional material, even animation, all without spoiling the narrative of the stories they are reading.
So the majority are highly likely to view the paper book as an ancient relic, a charming but irrelevant curiosity, like an Underwood typewriter or a hand illuminated manuscript.
Of course the cry goes up from the current generation of readers: “I’ll never give up paper books! I’ll only ever buy traditional books.” “What about libraries?” “Every New York apartment owner’s shelves are full of books too, that won’t change. And what about commuters reading in the subway?”
I love printed books too, and truly wish that could be the case.
But remember these basic economics: Publishers will only print new books if there are stores to sell them and readers to read them. They can’t publish if there simply aren’t enough buyers. Even one-off publishing is under threat.
Consider this: Would you pay $27 for a book and wait for it to be delivered when you can instantly download it for $3.99? Maybe you would, but here’s the crucial thing: The coming eBook generation most definitely will not.
What Can An Author Do In A World Of Disappearing Printed Books?
I’m not predicting the ‘Death Of The Book’. Au contraire mon frère, the fiction book is very much alive and on the rise.
What I am saying is that every author needs to ensure that they future proof their work by having eBook versions available.
Amazon’s eBook system is simple to use, and your books need to be there, even if they’re also printed. For other distribution channels, Smashwords has the best service, covering most other major digital book markets, including Apple’s iStore.
Even though paper books will be here for a while yet, I’ve started to future proof my own work. In fact the project I’m working on is designed exclusively for tablets. (Sorry, no spoilers!) There’ll be special paper print versions, but they are further back in the queue.
Does the future excite you? Are you planning to publish your work as eBooks? Or do you still hanker after being published ‘traditionally’? (You’re not alone…) Please leave a comment.
Article written by Jonathan Gunson
Author / CEO Bestseller Labs
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