Home » Ebooks, Non-US » The digital debate is done, and the reading public are the winners

The digital debate is done, and the reading public are the winners

31 August 2015

From The Guardian:

When I started writing this column three-and-a-half years ago, the digital publishing revolution was just starting to filter down to public consciousness.

From a pub lunch where someone was showing off their new Kindle to the 8.53am slot on the Today programme, conversations revolved around the same old questions. Is Amazon intent on destroying literary civilisation or is it a well-oiled customer-focused machine? Are publishers greedy and conservative middlemen or gatekeepers upholding quality? Is the person opposite you on the train reading Middlemarch or self-published vampire porn? What happens if you drop your e-reader in the bath?

The answers tended to be very black and white. You were either an ebook zealot or a luddite refusenik. A heartless free-marketeer or a romantic economic illiterate. There was little room for nuance or ambiguity.

Link to the rest at The Guardian

Ebooks, Non-US

14 Comments to “The digital debate is done, and the reading public are the winners”

  1. For far too many ‘thinkers’, it’s black and white with no shades of gray.

    Me? I can see the good in the bad and the bad in the good.

  2. More serious questions about the book industry now have space to be aired. Are we publishing too many books?

    That says a lot right there, it does.

    • ‘We’ who? Readers aren’t massively failing to read – they’ve adopted digital long ago, most of them.

      This, in the face of competition from video and audio.

      The time that used to be spent (wasted) finding something to read/watch/listen to can now be used to actually read…

      The kids are managing – and the suppliers are figuring it out.

      Hope is out of the box, Pandora.

      • “Most” might be a slight exaggeration. If by “most” you mean everyone who only reads Facebook and has never cracked open the other kind of book, then sure, digital dominates.

        • So by your own calculations, nobody reads ebooks. Since, you know, people who read digital only read Facebook.

          Tell me, did you come here just to be snotty and condescending, or were you actually hoping to persuade someone with your nonsense?

          • Seriously? So, its most or nobody, huh? Ebooks accounted for 30% of sales in 2014. Probably closer to 42-45% when accounting for self-published works (which the 30% doesn’t). That’s not MOST by any definition, nor is is “none” as you seem to think I am trying to indicate. I even said “slight” exaggeration? Where are you getting that I’m trying to say nobody reads books? Where are you even getting SNOTTY?

            Try accurate, and you’ll be closer to the mark.

            • Percentage of sales is not an accurate number because independent authors are not able to submit all their sales to the people coming up with that number. IF it could be accurately measured I would bet digital book sales make up more than 60% of book sales in America. (I’m not confident enough to comment on the rest of the world).

  3. 3.5 years? I sold my first e-book in 2002. One wonders if this columnist has been in a coma up until 2012.

  4. In our rural library system, digital is only a small percentage of our circulation, but every month our paper circulation declines and our digital increases. The net is a ] steady, but slow, increase in total circulation. Interestingly, we did a study recently; we discovered that our best paper reading clients also read the most digital books. I tentatively interpret this to mean that readers are readers and they don’t care as much whether they read paper or screen as people seem to think. Also, libraries have a hard time acquiring digital books. Publishers seem to be obstructive with incredibly high prices and restrictive licenses. Consequently, we don’t offer as many digital titles as we would like.

  5. “Is the person opposite you on the train reading Middlemarch or self-published vampire porn?”

    None of your damn business.

  6. Al the Great and Powerful

    I was reading digital long before Kindle and Nook. I only do Facebook for snarky pictures.

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