Recently we wrote a news item on the fact that Algonquin Publishing is ushering in a trail program that would give people discounts on the ebook version of the paperback or hardcover. They plan on continuing the adventure by giving away the ebook for free with the purchase of the tangible copies. The success of these ventures is critical to the overall market growth of the ebook segment and could very well be the deciding factors for ebooks and e-readers sales to reach critical mass.
If you regularly keep up to date with ebook news you will know that Amazon, Barnes and Noble and most other companies that sell more ebooks then real ones. They publicly issue press releases on these milestones and it has stimulated the accelerated proliferation of e-readers to read the books on.
It is no secret that e-readers are quickly emerging from being relegated from fringe gadget to catching on a broader audience. Hardly anyone heard of the Amazon Kindle when it was first was released in 2007 and only a small demographic knew what they did. Fast forward to 2011 and you see commercials from Amazon and B&N, hyping the virtues of their latest and greatest ebook reader. Many major news companies have also recognized the technology and are seeing massive interest. The New York Times no small publication recently added eBooks – Fiction and Non-Fiction to their publication. I know for a fact from reading many different reports from think tanks that e-readers have caught on and are rising in popularity. Most people though, have absolutely no clue about the do and what they are.
In order for eBooks to really catch on with the public consciousness and in effect stimulate record e-reader sales is for the ebooks to be given away with the purchase of a new hardcopy. Book stores are the mainstay of entertainment and people love to read! Most people do not know what ebooks are and they will reach such a crazy level of exposure if ebooks were given away for free. Here are the virtues I see happening if more publishers follow suite from what Algonquin Publishing is doing.
Bookstores will survive – Retail chains like Borders, Angus and Robertson and many others would see new life.
E-Readers would get more popular – The more popular a device is, the more people want to buy them, the less it costs for the company to manufacture them, price comes down.
These are but two of the major benefits I see happening if the publishing venture comes true and more publishers are willing to give their ebooks away with the purchase of a real one. People would end up spending more money to have the hardcopy and the e-copy. This does not just directly benefit the bookstore segment but also the entire pipeline of making, printing, distributing said books.
Personally I buy as many real books as I do ebooks. I tend to buy elevated reading and very interesting books from the physical stores. I have lots of bookshelves and they are brimming with cool reads that I don’t mind lending to my friends. I tend to buy trashy ebooks that are quickly forgotten when I read them. Fantasy, SCI-FI and other genres tend to be the cheaper ebook version and are easily deleted after I have my way with them. I would be more inspired to have the electronic version of the book when I spend $40 on the latest hardcopy and then lend it to a friend and they lose it. Constantly one of the pitfalls of being an avid reader is that you end up lending books to friends or people who might be friends. Many times the book is wrecked, lost, incinerated, used for cat litter or what have you. It would be a consolidation if I could fall back on the electronic copy.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.