Sales of e-books and audio book downloads have quadrupled in the UK according to figures from the Publishers Association Show.
Digital sales have soared from £4m to £16m and although it’s still a small proportion of the total book sales last year, more people are switching to technology like Amazon’s “Kindle”.
These latest figures released follow soon after Amazon announced that e-books had out sold paperbacks in the US for the first time in history earlier this year.
The ability to access thousands of books in multiple languages and start reading them in 60 seconds is fast becoming another necessity in this new media age.
The business of writing, printing and publishing has hardly been affected, however retailers are feeling the pinch as more consumers go online for their books.
…industry experts suggest we are nearing the “moment of cross-over”…
This is happening before piracy in e-books has barely reared its head and many shops are already operating on slim margins and even closing up for good. The publishers will have to look and learn from the record industry who suffered severely from piracy.
E-books have even made their way into education, Somerset College downed there text books and used electronic devices as part of a technology trial. The College based in Taunton became one of the first in February to provide downloadable books on e-readers.
Sales in Paperback in the UK have yet to drop, but industry experts suggest we are nearing the “moment of cross-over” in which traditional books will be left behind and digital formats become dominant.
As the e-book movement starts to pick up pace, it does not mean an end to literature, however it changes the experience in a way that suits this digital generation.
Will children’s classics like “The Hungry Caterpillar” live on?
The future may see, audio, video and maybe even games within books themselves, something that would make a traditionalist cringe at the site of the book losing its place in people’s lives.
What will happen to memories of your first book? Will children’s classics like “The Hungry Caterpillar” live on? Pop-ups, touchy-feely and scratch ‘n’ sniff may no longer be a prominent childhood memory and could possibly be replaced by a digital alternative.
Image courtest of Miles Bannan