When people learn I’m a publisher, their first questions usually include the following: “Do you publish those electronic books?” and “Do you think printed books are going to disappear?” Sometimes, these questions are asked with not a little trepidation – a fear of losing something they clearly hold dear. After all, holding a book in your hands, turning the pages one by one, and smelling the incomparable scent of paper make printed books truly irreplaceable, and most book lovers agree that the tactile experience is what they love most about the printed format.
The rise of e-books has been swift and strong. While they first emerged as early as the ’70s, they didn’t become mainstream until the 2000s – but today, they comprise 20 to 50 percent of all book sales, depending on the country. This chart from the Visual Capitalist gives a global breakdown:
While it’s clear e-books are popular, it’s also clear that the majority of people still buy their books in print. So as long as paper is available and printers remain in business, we believe the printed word will prevail – which makes us happy, as both publishers and readers!
written by Robert Pruett, publisher