“print is dead!!”-some years back this was the go-to dialogue of every future predictor, and also the easy way out of corporate strategists. That prediction did not come true, and most people toned down the dialogue to something like “the next generation would obviously be brought up on digital books and will not even know what paper books looked like”. Yet, print refuses to die.
To be honest, the trend did look to be moving in this direction only. According to a report in the New York Times the e-book sales had gone up 1260% between 2008 and 2010. And many famous bookstores like Borders, Barnes & Noble’s etc were seeing hard times. Today however it is being reported that e-book sales which were expected to overtake print have actually slowed down. This slowdown has also been seen in the sales of e-reading devices.
There is a caveat however, this report concluding that the e-book sales have gone down does not take into account the digital books that are released by individual authors that do not belong to these big-name publishers. These small books are usually very cheap and easy for consumers to buy without worrying too much about how the product would be.
The slowdown of e-book sales, either way, is interesting because it shows that technology does not always win over age old habits. I myself had bought two different e-book readers including the latest generation Kindle and yet find myself returning back to print books. Apart from the ease of browsing books paper, I also find that certain simple tasks like taking notes or similar is still tedious in e-books. It is also to be noted that in spite of the improvements that Amazon publicises it has brought to Kindle, the end product remains pretty much the same as it was years back.