The most common discussion that I see on a lot of forums is the one where people are battling back and forth on whether or not eBooks will be the death of the printed word. You tend to have the two sides, opposing each other with all of their might.
In the blue corner, carrying an e-reader, weighing in at an average of about 10 ounces, and a height of around 5”, the Electroninator. In the red corner, carrying a dusty tome, with an average weight of 12 ounces and a height of around 8.5”, we have the Old Schooler. It’s a heated battle in the blogosphere.
eBook fanatics argue that convenience, space saving and social awareness of the carbon footprint will make printed books obsolete. They argue that printed books have declined in popularity between 1.5% & 5% (depending on which source you read) this year, while eBooks have gained about a 14% to 20% (again, depending on your source) boost in popularity. To some, this clearly means that the death of the printed book is imminent.
Printed book fans argue that tradition will win over technology, and that the eBook reader is just a fad that will fade out in the way of the dodo or Beta player. The look, smell and feel of a book will trump convenience every time for these folks.
eBooks are here to stay. They are a great idea, and they really are convenient and compact. We are definitely moving into a more technical age, and this is an undoubted reality. However, there will always be a call for printed books as well. I can see the market becoming 50% or 60% eBooks, and 50% or 40% printed books in the next 5-10 years.
This doesn’t mean the death of the printed word. It means that it is time to adapt and change our way of thinking. Sure, you can pay $2 a book if you get a few thousand printed, but does that really help the bottom line at the end of the day? Not if you have a couple thousand sitting around the house for several years.
It’s time to be smart about how you promote and market your book. Get a good editor, have a quality manuscript, get it professionally formatted, produce a great eBook, and print yourself a couple hundred books at a time. Keep your overhead down, and cater to both markets in the smartest way possible. It’s not time to light the funeral pyre. It’s just time to take a different road on the path to success.