Are e-books “winning,” or are print books? The reality is more complicated, Davey Alba writes on Wired. Alba looks at the different articles proclaiming e-book sales are slipping and print books are resurging, and even Amazon is poking its nose into physical bookstores now, and says, “Not so fast.”
As Mike Shatzkin previously noted, a large part (indeed, possibly all) of that resurgence in print sales is due to the current fad for adult coloring books. Meanwhile, different genres do better in different media. E-books see the best performance from popular fiction, romance, and young adult bestsellers, while children’s books and nonfiction do better in print. That can make it hard to prognosticate clearly.
Meanwhile, Amazon continues to adjust its own strategies to account for a changing marketplace—focusing more heavily on self-publishing and its own publishing imprints, and promoting the Kindle Unlimited subscription program. And its venture into bookstores could let it leverage the vast stores of information it’s collected in its online business to sell more books face-to-face.
The headline of the article proclaims that “It’s not books vs. Amazon. You can have both!” That much is certainly true. And as I noted the other day, while e-books are definitely important to Amazon, they’re not going to make or break the company by their success or failure.
But the book and e-book market continues to feel its way onward, changing and developing as it goes. It still remains to be seen how Amazon’s recent introduction of the Kindle Oasis will further change that market. Have we reached the point where a designer e-reader can be successful? If so, what will that mean for consumers’ reading habits?
In any event, it seems clear that books and e-books—and bookstores and Amazon—will continue to coexist for the time being, regardless of anything Amazon, the bookstores, or the publishers try to do to change it.