Is the REAL Issue E-Books or E-Readers?

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

6 thoughts on “Is the REAL Issue E-Books or E-Readers?

  1. Deb Sanders Post author

    Thanks for stopping by, Tammy. A lot of people feel the same as you. I understand. But I’ve talked to a few lately, my daughter included, who swore in blood they would never give up print books and then rescinded when they got an E-Reader. They’re very user friendly, easy on the eyes. My daughter even puts hers in a ziplock bag and reads in the tub. I think the trend will only grow stronger IF someone either develops a program that makes all e-book fomats compatible with any e-reader or the major e-reader distributors call a truce. It will be interesting to watch, that’s for sure.


    1. Tammy

      Oh, absolutely, Deb. There is indeed value in digital books. And I’d be silly if I didn’t agree that digital books are the way of the future. But as a gal who can spend an entire day in a bookstore without ever getting bored and as a gal who has always dreamed of having one room in my house filled with wall-to-wall books, I doubt I’ll ever give them up. I may indeed own a Kindle or a Nook someday (or whatever else comes out by then) but those E-Readers will never have the smell of a good book. They’ll never satisfy the visual excitement of a towering stack of “to be read” books. Or the habit I have of feeling the paper between my fingers as I read. Besides, I’ve linked useful info from reference books in my brain by the color of the cover or the size of the book. Need a good piece of scientific info on love (to write that romance novel)? Easy…look for the red and white paperback! Need a mystical quote? I’ll find it in the superthin hardback with my religion books. 🙂


  2. Tammy

    Great post but I am in the minority. I prefer paper. The industry will get all the kinks worked out eventually…or maybe they won’t. And then everyone will be wishing for paper again. LOL!


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