A few years on, it’s worth evaluating ebook e-readers and the impact they have made to normal books sales.
Personally I find that selling fiction on Amazon is unprofitable now, compared to before the introduction of Amazon’s Kindle.
However, this is due to a combination of factors – for the most part, postage costs. Royal Mail price rises have made it nearly impossible to make any sort of profit to sell low-value fiction (1p books), even for large letters, and no chance at all for packet-sized books, no matter how light in weight.
That said, many popular Kindle books are priced above used printed book prices, so buyers might purchase a printed copy despite owning an electronic device, to save money.
I have to admit to owning a Kindle, but I still prefer to read via printed books. It’s just not the same experience. However, my husband Clive likes the Kindle to play electronic games on – something I don’t do at all.
My sisters love their Kindles and no longer buy printed books. So I guess it’s an individual choice.
I can see if you go on holiday via an aeroplane, then due to charges apportioned to weights of baggage, then an e-reader is very useful.
We drive to France, so taking a dozen printed books is no hardship. Should we fly somewhere, I may have to reconsider using my Kindle instead of printed copies.
So to sum up, I don’t think e-readers have had quite the impact I first expected when Amazon released the Kindle. Many books are not available via download and may even cost more than a printed copy: you can’t give away a download or donate it to charity shops.
My son is in university and we offered to buy a Kindle for him to download books (his bag is so heavy due to carrying books around all day). He declined because he prefers printed books.
I think this is the case for many book readers, of all ages: ebooks have their place and are very useful, but I have a vision of a bookcase which should hold a variety of books, in all colours and conditions, but the shelves are empty except for a small square object looking very lost. Yes, that small object may hold several hundred books, but no one except the owner will see them.
Here are a dozen advantages and disadvantages of ebook e-readers…
1. Less physical space is required to store ebooks, and hundreds or thousands of books may be stored on the same device.
2. Because they require little space, ebooks can be offered indefinitely, with no out-of-print date, allowing authors to continue to earn royalties indefinitely.
3. Readers who have difficulty reading printed books can benefit from the adjustment of text size and font face.
4. eBook devices allow reading in low light or even total darkness by means of a back light.
5. An ebook can automatically open at the last-read page.
6. It is easier for authors to self-publish ebooks.
7. Although they require electricity to be read, the production of ebooks does not consume the paper, ink, and other resources that are used to produce print books.
8. If not viewed on computers, ebooks require the purchase of an electronic device and/or peripheral software which can display them. If they are to be viewed on a personal computer, it may require additional software
9. All ebook devices require electrical power, resulting in the consumption of electricity.
10. eBook readers are far more likely to be stolen than paper books. If an ebook device is stolen, lost, or broken beyond repair, all ebooks stored on the device may be lost.
11. There is a loss of tactility and the aesthetics of book bindings.
12. Looking at a screen for a long time may cause eye strain and sometimes headaches.
Until next week…