You would be very hard pressed to go a single week without hearing about digital books. Companies are absorbing other companies, new startups launch a compelling discovery site or even get involved in a eBook subscription service. For the first eight months of 2013, eBook sale were worth $800 million in the US, down 5% on the same period the previous year, according to the Association of American Publishers. The founder of Waterstones Books in the UK says that eBooks are just a flash in the pan and will fizzle out in short order.
During a recent interview with the Daily Telegraph, Tim Waterstone proclaimed “eBooks have developed a share of the market, of course they have,” he said. “But every indication – certainly from America – shows the share is already in decline. The indications are that it will do exactly the same in the UK.” He went on mention “I think you read and hear more garbage about the strength of the eBook revolution than anything else I’ve known,”
Waterstone added that predictions of the demise of books were grossly exaggerated, saying: “The product is so strong, the interest in reading is so deeply rooted in the culture and human soul of this country that it is immovable. The traditional, physical book is hanging on. I’m absolutely sure we will be here in 40 years’ time.”
In the UK, 3.3 million e-books were sold in April 2013, according to Nielsen research – down 0.1% on the same month the previous year. Meanwhile, hardback book sales rose 11.5%. in the first eight months of 2013.
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 CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.