The sales of ebook readers AND ebooks over the last 2 years is further indication that ebooks sales, readers and books, is slowing, NOT decreasing, just slowing. But this is inevitable as we move closer to “saturation”; the adoption of ebooks as a habitual way of reading books went through a monstrous growth after the first mass market ebooks were introduced, especially the Kindle from Amazon, whose extremely convenient website sales and book information made it an easy habit to adopt.
My own acquisition of a Kindle during Christmas 2011 surely accelerated my own frequency of book purchasing, and the addition of further features add to the allure of the ebook. Amazon began offering extremely cheap audio versions of purchased ebooks that enable readers to switch seamlessly back and forth from reading the ebook to listening to the same book (usually during various commutes). When I start up my Audible Book app on my phone and select a book, it jumps to the spot where I last read in the ebook. And when I return to the ebook at home or on my Kindle at the Y while riding the stationary bike, I am dropped into the book at the spot where I left off listening to the audio.
Such habit-forming technologies of convenience encourage more frequent book reading , and this seems to fit the boomer/older adult lifestyle as well. As they continue to expand the features and conveniences of ebook reader devices and the people who use them, things such as “social reading” (like “e-book clubs”) will add the additional allure many older adults crave such as camaraderie and community around books.
Some have expressed surprise that older audiences have warmed to the use of ebooks over printed books, but the separation there is not as apparent as one might suppose. Adoption of ebooks is not always a rejection of printed books. Take me , for example. I still like to have the books I’m reading on bookshelves. I created that habit over 30+ years in the pre-e-book age. But as a “techie”, I avail myself of the conveniences of moving from Kindle to phone Kindle app to Audible Audio app (for the car or for during exercise where I can’t read so easily with my eyes while moving). But as a someone over 55, I have too much a past with books to fail to appreciate the experience of the printed books, even though many of those experiences are sufficiently replicated or often even surpassed by the electronic book. Suffice it to say that I would love to see bookselllers offer enticing “package deals” of the various formats for ONE form-agnostic book purchase. I am often finishing an ebook version of a book that made me want a “hardcopy” version to add to my “library”. As a journeyer from the pre-electronic book age, I still derive a sense of comfort from having my office lined with books.
It’s interesting how hard it is to find recent ebook sales figures and the demographics. Nearly everything is from a couple years ago, and that was when there was lots of media coverage of the impact of ebooks. I’d like to see more research on how now that the sales explosions of devices and books has “slowed”, how have reader behaviors and habits shifted?
Here’s a few links to items relating to ebooks, from various sources. These kinds of items you might also find in my Social Media postings on Facebook , Twitter, and Google. I found an interesting Pinterest board here which posts a lot of charts and cartoons about Books and the issues around “Digital or Print”. Here’s another on “charts and stats to help size and define the eBook and eReader market”
Now the links, and feel free to chime in and tell me your thoughts on the matter. This is one of my favorite areas to discuss, and the thoughts of others are important here.