Have ebooks lost out to real books? - An anaysis

Ebooks had emerged as the future of reading. The sales figures of the E-Readers sky rocketed in a couple of years and now, the situation seems to have reversed. EBooks appear to be on the decline of late. What could be the reasons for this downfall? We will try analysing it in a little finer details.


Writing was evolved as a way of communicating one's views. The omnipresent non-verbal form of communication was in a way one of the unique inventions in the history of mankind. The press was the next huge advancement. Manual writing was replaced by the automatic machine dependent task. In fact, it is one of the greatest innovations till date.

Later on, EBooks made their maiden entry into the arena of written communication. EBooks and Ebook readers had a great beginning. They made carrying your books easy.

Early days of EBooks

At first, when EBooks arrived, people made fun of it. The technology was just at its nascent stage. The formatting was not up to the mark. The display used to be dim and fuzzy. Many avid readers turned away from it. There were many views against it. People said things like " It doesn't give the feeling of reading a book".

Gradually, things started to move for the EBooks. The EBooks industry began making great progress. People began buying thousands of the EBook readers. Kindle series from Amazon made a great difference. The E-books continued their journey onto the smartphones and tablets. If estimates are to be believed, the sales of EBooks grew by over 1000 per cent! It even forced many well known booksellers to shut down.

The phenomenal rise gave birth to a new category of smartphone apps - the EBook readers. Every best seller had a digital version available in the form of EBook. The traditional books were on the brink of extinction.

The twist in the story

The EBooks were deemed to be the future of the written communication. There were estimates from the bigwigs in the industry that the EBooks will surpass the print media by the year 2016. People even went to the extent of saying that by 2020 printed books will be as rare as the older LP records. But, interestingly enough - such a prophesy did not hold water. Digital media could not surpass the print.

Contrary to what has been forecast, the EBooks sales have begun to be plummeted. The initial indications of the first half of 2015 have shown that the EBook sales have come down by 10 per cent. The print industry has bravely resisted the digital invasion and emerged a strong winner.

What caused the downfall?

Well, the reasons for the downfall of the digital media are manifold. There are financial as well as psychological reasons. Many avid readers contended that the digital books do not provide the satisfaction gained by reading a great treatise in the book form.

The price of the EBooks tends to be on the higher side. Most of the readers turn away after having a look at the digital book in comparison to the print media. In fact, the EBooks should have been priced lower considering the reduced costs of publishing. There are no frictions between different stages of printing, transportation and storage. The EBooks are delivered instantly in comparison to the printed ones. I would genuinely expect a digital version of a best seller to be priced at a quarter of its printed counterpart. But, instead - what we see is a completely different picture. There could be many reasons to it. The greed on the part of publishers could well be one of the most important culprit. Then there is the ego of the best selling authors who feel insulted at being available at a cheaper price. All these reasons have kept the pricing of EBooks at equivalent or an higher level than the printed counterpart.

Another possible reason is the user base. We have not yet reached a stage to be completely dependent on the digital media. There is a big number of readers who fall in the category of Hybrid Readers. They mostly prefer EBooks while travelling, but go back to the print media at home for a leisurely reading.

Then there is a technology aspect in place. Though the technology is capable enough, we have not seen much of an innovation in the devices. Apart from a few added advantages like looking up for a word, or highlighting - the EBook readers do not have much to offer. Reading on a smartphones is still a cause of strain to the eyes.

Does the future hold good?

Nothing is lost still. There is still some hope to revive the EBook culture. The full potential of the technology needs to be utilised to achieve it. Having the ego and the greed set aside and lowering the prices can tilt the scales. In fact, the war between the digital books and the real books is a never ending one. Finally, it will boil down to the user and his preferences. What would you wish to have in your hand while sitting for leisurely reading - a digital device or a real book? That exactly is what will determine the future of the EBooks and the allied services.

Article by Timmappa Kamat
Timmappa Kamat is a technology enthusiast. He has an active interest in newer technological developments. He is fond of new gizmos & gadgets. He loves to share his knowledge through tech-savvy websites as a freelancer. A Mechanical Engineer by profession, he is equally interested in blogging, with his own blog. He wants to carve a name for himself in blogging arena one day! If you need any clarifications about his articles,please respond here below or get in touch with him through his profile.

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Author: Timmappa Kamat11 Dec 2015 Member Level: Gold   Points : 0

In a sad twist which goes on prove what has been pointed out in this article, Flipkart Ebooks will be closed down on 17th December. Flipkart has made the announcement on its website that the purchases will be transferred to Kobo. Flipkart has stated that in a market that is "overwhelmingly dominated by physical books" and it is not viable to continue it and claims that it is not a "strategic fit".

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