Thursday, February 24, 2011

Will Print Books Really Go the Way of the Giganotosaurus?

Amazon's announcement late last month that it sold more e-books than paperbacks in the fourth quarter of 2010, coupled with the news that independent author Amanda Hocking has sold more than 450,000 books (almost all of them e-books) and that Borders has filed for bankruptcy protection, has led to great publishing industry and author hand-wringing (or maybe celebration) about the demise of traditional publishing and, with it, print (or dead tree) books.

I don't think so.

I do think most books sold will---some day soon---be in electronic format. It is just cheaper, quicker, and more convenient for everyone from author to publisher to reader.

Case in point: Yesterday, while waiting at pick up at my sons' preschool, I had fewer than five minutes to kill. I checked Twitter from my phone, saw that Marcus Sakey was offering a short story for free on Smashwords, clicked the on the link, purchased the story, entered the coupon code, and loaded the story to my Smashwords library. (And had three minutes left to arrange a play date to the museum this weekend AND buy the tickets for said play date through a Groupon. Again, from my phone.)

Later than night, I read the story on my phone while I was up rocking the baby and posted a review (five stars, by the way).

At no point did I have to go to my computer, let alone drag three kids to a bookstore.

So, yes, I think e-books are going to predominate, but there will always be a place for print. Off the top of my head those tactile baby board books and lift the flap books; pop up books; people who read in the bathtub; and people who read on the beach will all be better served by print. And there will always be those special books (defined on purely subjective grounds) that will merit a physical space in our book collections.

But, electronic delivery is pretty cool. So, here's a free electronic copy of DARK BLOOMS, from me to you. Use code MX28B at checkout. And hurry up, code expires on Saturday.

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