Are eBooks Killing the Book Industry?

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I said I would talk about this soon.  I’m just going to warn you that I have no real facts to back what I think, but rather personal observations from watching friends and family.

I’m just going to say right now that I don’t think eBooks are bad for the book industry at all.  While I do see more and more indie authors, I think the standard publishing houses will remain so.  There are enough snobs who are weary of indie authors.  Honestly, I’m wary of indie authors.  There are good and bad ways to do an independent novel, but unfortunately many that you’ll find will have been done the bad way – without an editor, littered with common grammatical and spelling mistakes, and without a properly constructed story.  Part of the publishing house process is the service the editors provide.  They help hone a novel to its best self, and a lot of indie authors do not take the time or invest the money to hire a real editor.  If a friend recommends an indie or someone asks me to review one, I’ll give it a shot.  After all, I liked My Memories of a Future Life.  But still I am wary, and many others like me will be wary, too.  This alone will keep the regular publishing houses thriving.

Amazon announced their Kindle Fire last month, and with that presentation showed a very interesting chart.  Sales of physical books are steadily increasing.  In a down economy.

Amazon Book Sales
Amazon's chart shows sales of physical books growing

Amazon is the largest world retailer for books and for eBooks as well, so if they’re still growing, then there’s not much to worry about.  Amazon is online, and the closing of Borders shows that physical book stores are struggling, but physical books themselves are not.  I mean, if Amazon can grow in this economy and with the Kindle to hand on the same website, that’s a pretty good indication of people’s reading practices.

I honestly think that eBooks bring more people to reading.  It’s so easy now to read when you have a few spare minutes.  You don’t even need something like the Kindle.  You just need an app on your iPhone or Android phone, and can read when you’re doing all of the waiting our society dictates (doctor’s appointments, public transportation commutes, and everything in between our busy lives).  Personally, I will always have books that I will want to own a physical copy of.  There is something about owning books that is important to me.  I also like the turning of the page, the smell, the feel of the heft of words in my hand.  But eBooks are great for those books you wouldn’t have purchased because of the space they would occupy.  And, like I said before, for those books you are slightly ashamed you own and read.

So many different ways to read mean more and more people are going to be reading.  I’m not worried, because honestly, readers are still interested in quality.  That’s why there are so many readers for blogs like mine.  People want to find that great read, that book that makes them think and feel and experience another life.  We’ll continue to look for it, and publishing houses will continue to provide it.  I’m not saying that every book that’s gone through a traditional publishing house is guaranteed to be good (*cough*Twilight*cough*), but your chances are higher.  People have faith in the system and we will continue to put our faith in it as long as it churns out good books.  Until that stops happening, the book industry will be just fine.


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