Future of Books – So are E-Books better or worse than regular books?

This week’s blog entry is going to be written in English. You probably ask yourself – why? Is it because of the fact, that English sounds sophisticated? Or perhaps it’s more scientific? Well no, the answer is: my German grammar is very bad. Surprised? Wait for the blog content!

E-Book market share

The E-Book market share is big in the U.S. In 2014, it held 35% of all book sales throughout the country.[1] That’s a very impressive number – it certainly makes you wonder, whether the electronic books are able to overtake the regular printed ones.

One company has taken particular interest in this form of books – Amazon. Just like we’ve written in one of the previous entries, they have released “Kindle” in 2007. There are loads of E-Books available for all kinds of Kindles nowadays. Let’s take a look at the statistics. According to the Author Earnings Report from October 2015, 74% of all E-Books were sold through Amazon.[2] That almost sounds like a monopoly. Publishers are not that important in the comparison between printed and electronic books though. I just thought that’s a fun fact to know.

The pros of E-Books

The most obvious advantage over regular books lies in the space needed to store them. Printed books take quite a lot of space, especially if you have a large quantity of them. Without bookshelves it’s impossible to manage your home-library. E-Books, on the other hand are only limited by the e-reader storage capacity. You can literally store tens of thousands of books on your device.[3] It’s also convenient to have all your literature in one place. No more physical searching for books – they are all in your hand a few taps away.

Another advantage over printed books is the fact, that their electronic counterparts can be read in darkness. Many devices have their own light source that allows indoor, outdoor, day and night usage.[3] Reading printed books in dime light is bad for your eyes. E-readers however, are eyesight friendly and do not sabotage your eyes while you try to read. Regular books may make you brighter, but they aren’t bright enough to be read in the dark, are they.

Last but not least, E-Books are a lot more nature friendly than printed ones. It takes less materials and water to produce them.[4] Checkmate ecologists.

The cons of E-Books

While E-Books may sound very attractive, there’s always a downside to everything. The first major concern regarding them, is the lack of privacy. The e-readers publishers know everything about your reading preferences, what book you’re currently reading and on what page you’re on.[5] They know everything regarding the reading time and how long it takes for you to finish one chapter. The constant surveillance in todays world is tiring.

Now perhaps the most important – the hidden value of printed books. People like the object itself, not just the content. Some find them beautiful. Others like the smell, when you open it for the first time. There are also people who take pride in having a bookshelf full of fantastic books.[6] They may be impractical and outdated in the digital world we’re living in, but there’s something special to having a good regular book.

Quellen

1 – Ingenta. (2015). “Adding up the invisible ebook market – analysis of Author Earnings January 2015”. Link: (https://www.ingenta.com/blog-article/adding-up-the-invisible-ebook-market-analysis-of-author-earnings-january-2015-2/)

2 – Author Earnings. (2015). “October 2015 – Apple, B&N, Kobo, and Google: a look at the rest of the ebook market”. Link: (https://web.archive.org/web/20151114045019/http://authorearnings.com/report/october-2015-apple-bn-kobo-and-google-a-look-at-the-rest-of-the-ebook-market/)

3 – Amazon. (2019). Link: (https://www.amazon.com/All-new-Kindle-Paperwhite-Waterproof-Storage/dp/B07745PV5G?th=1)

4 – Goelman&Norris. (2010). “How Green Is My iPad?”. at nytimes.com

5 – Richards, Neil. (2015). “The Fifty Shades of Grey Paradox”. Link: (https://slate.com/technology/2015/02/fifty-shades-of-grey-and-the-paradox-of-e-reader-privacy.html)

6 – Catone, Josh. (2013). “Why Printed Books Will Never Die”. Link: (https://mashable.com/2013/01/16/e-books-vs-print/?europe=true)

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One thought on “Future of Books – So are E-Books better or worse than regular books?

  1. Marcus Birkenkrahe

    Interesting (fun) facts! “E-Books are a lot more nature friendly than printed ones. It takes less materials and water to produce them.” The article does not include electricity (or battery) requirements, which accumulate over the lifetime of the device – or the fact that books (especially modern books) can be expected to have a lifetime of several hundred years, while e-readers don’t. The calculation seems crooked or biased, what do you think, am I making a mistake? Are there better sources?

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