Monday, 30 January 2012

# 30 The Progressive Reader

I read some fascinating statistics on Friday about how although book sales in their traditional form have been struggling during the recession, that e-books are as strong if not stronger than ever.

Something like 1.33 million ebook readers were sold in the 6 weeks leading up to Christmas and something in the region of 500,000 ebooks were bought on Christmas Day alone - no doubt to populate all those gifted Kindle's fired up on the big day.

Kindle - books on the go - source
Like vinyl the hard copy book has slowly gone out of fashion to a degree, but reading hasn't and this is the good news. The format has changed that is all. The internet has been a godsend in many respects. Access to digitalised hard to find books online using sites such as GoogleBooks has made the internet revolution enormously useful to both readers and researchers. I have lost count of the number of obscure foreign or out of print books I have gained access to through Google that I would otherwise never have found.

Vinyl of course, is now coming back into fashion and there were those that never stopped using it. It will be the same for the hard copy book. So what I found particularly interesting about these statistics was the demographic group buying into this new way of reading. It isn't, as you might expect the younger, technologically savvy generation, but quite simply those who were already reading real books in the first place. It is thus that the technology is not encouraging a new generation to take up reading, but the former to read in a new way.

Progressive publishers are producing new works in multiple formats these days - hard copy, e- books, even audio books and it seems that if the book buying public are happy to embrace this new way of reading, then publishers shall have to bend to meet demand and remain in business.

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