It seems that readers, authors, and publishers are still trying to figure out where books stand in the era of print-versus-digital. Ever since the rise in popularity of e-reading, industry watchers have been making vast predictions on the death of one format over the other, but Lulu may have provided definitive numbers that show that both formats are holding their own.
“There is certainly a wonderful increase in the production and sale of e-books,” explains Sarah Gilbert, director of sales at self-publishing company Lulu.com in an interview with MarketWatch. “But that doesn’t mean that people have done away with print books. Not by a long shot.”
Lulu is no stranger to the metrics of ebooks sales, given that it is the largest provider of indie ebooks to the Nook store and has been providing self-publishers authors with tools and guidance since 2002.
“We have found that some people who have e-readers still buy print books. When it comes to books, there is no telling what people will prefer, so it is best to offer both print and electronic options. Each tends to fuel the sales of the other, so you are covered at both ends.”
While many have predicted that print and/or digital have seen their glory days already, the sales figures from Lulu appear to prove that one version’s sales actually stimulate the growth of the other and that the more successful authors are the ones whose books are available in both formats. Authors who offered a free preview of their works in the form of sample chapters also saw improved sales over those who did not.