I read an interesting article today posted on the PCWorld website by Melissa Perenson. She discussed the future of e-books, more specifically e-book readers. It offered a different perspective on the digital book phenomena, which I appreciate.
The future success of e-books lies not with the quality, quantity or pricing of downloadable material, as many publishers would like us to believe. It lies with the adaptability of e-readers.
Now this makes perfect sense to me. Facts are facts and anywhere you look, there is evidence e-book purchases are eclipsing the most conservative estimates. According to Perenson, “…a report by Forrester Research predicts that sales of digital titles (and readers) will top $1 billion in 2011. And the New York Times this week started adding e-books to its weekly Best Sellers list.”
Perenson goes on to point out the real issue with e-readers is DRM or Digital Rights Management. Right now, there’s hot competition between distributors to sell their format exclusively. Yeah, yeah…there are those who “say” they sell books in a universal e-Pub format which should make them compatible, right?. What they don’t tell you is if Apple, B&N or other distributers have coded an e-Pub file with DRM, it may not work with your e-reader. The buyer has no way of knowing until after they’ve purchased the e-book.
The answer, of course, is a universal library that’s accessible from any platform. There are people in high places who don’t want that to happen. I’m of the opinion readers will demand it eventually but when is anybody’s guess.
There will always be readers who prefer paper to digital when it comes to reading material whether it be books, magazines or newspapers. However, that group is fast becoming the minority. A vocal minority, mind you, but the numbers are decreasing each day. Our children are schooled in a digital age so it only stands to reason that e-books will be the format of choice in coming years.
As writers, we must consider all aspects of the market when choosing an agent, publisher, indy publishing, or even a format, to present our work. I’m looking forward to watching this transition unfold.
For the full article at PCWorld by Melissa J. Perenson, please go to http://www.pcworld.com/article/219335