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As Print Surges, Ebook Sales Plunge Nearly 20% (cnn.com) 206

An anonymous reader quotes CNN: Sales of consumer ebooks plunged 17% in the U.K. in 2016, according to the Publishers Association. Sales of physical books and journals went up by 7% over the same period, while children's books surged 16%. The same trend is on display in the U.S., where ebook sales declined 18.7% over the first nine months of 2016, according to the Association of American Publishers. Paperback sales were up 7.5% over the same period, and hardback sales increased 4.1%...

Sales of e-readers declined by more than 40% between 2011 and 2016, according to consumer research group Euromonitor International. "E-readers, which was once a promising category, saw its sales peak in 2011. Its success was short-lived, as it spiraled downwards within a year with the entry of tablets," Euromonitor said in a research note.

The article includes an even more interesting statistic: that one-third of adults tried a "digital detox" in 2016, limiting their personal use of electronics. Are any Slashdot readers trying to limit their own screen time -- or reading fewer ebooks?
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As Print Surges, Ebook Sales Plunge Nearly 20%

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  • EBooks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DaMattster ( 977781 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @11:37AM (#54328837)
    I happen to like eBooks very much. I like being able to check them out of the library online.
    • I like them for convenience. I've got an ereader on my tablet that syncs with the one on my phone. When I'm at home I'll read on the tablet, which has a much bigger display, but when I'm out, I can read the book on my phone. I find it convenient, and don't really read any fiction in real book form anymore.

      • Re:EBooks (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Tobenisstinky ( 853306 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @12:56PM (#54329185)

        Convenience (size, online access) is, at least for me, beginning to be outweighed by the cost, availability of older works (10-20years) and as other's have stated, quality of new content. I can see a new release of a popular author in hardback costing $29, but an ebook? WTF? digital delivery should count for something.

        • The way it was explained to me is that printing, particularly in an age of "just in time printing" is not the most significant cost in publishing. Whether you distribute a book in physical form or electronic, the process is much the same, in that you have to take a manuscript, edit it, and put it into a publishable form. Now while an epub file (which is just a glorified bunch of HTML, image and meta files zipped together) doesn't require the kind of typesetting that a print book does, it still has to work o

          • Was the person who explained this to you making money off of eBooks perchance? Because that's what it sounds like.
          • Re:EBooks (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Jason1729 ( 561790 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @01:47PM (#54329399)
            You have been lied to.

            It is not just the cost in physical printing (which has a significant labor component as well). You need a truck driver to physically move the books from the print facility to the store (which also costs fuel and the use of the truck). You have to pay for the physical space of the book store. You need someone to stock the shelves, someone to physically check out the customer. You have loss due to stolen books, loss due to books damaged too much on the shelves to sell. Unsold copies. A distribution network. And everyone needs to make their profit. When you buy a physical book off the shelf at a store, how much of the money you paid do you think the publisher actually nets on it? If you think it's more than 10 cents on the dollar, you don't know anything about commerce. Even with an online seller like Amazon, someone has to pay for shipping costs and you still have many costs dealing with physical objects.

            If anything, the cost to edit a manuscript into an epub file is a negligible part of the cost of the finished product.

            And then...when you pay $30 for a hardcover (or $10 for a paperback), you own the physical object and can do what you want with it. Give it to a friend, donate it, sell it to a used book shop, etc. I do buy print books and I frequently trade with friends. At work, we have several avid readers and we have a small bookshelf where people drop off books they've finished and help themselves to what looks interesting. The average number of readers per copy for a physical book is much higher than for an ebook just because they're so easy to pass around and used books have such a low perceived value.

            That makes print books a much better deal, usually for the price of a single book you get to read a few.

            Look at the audible audiobook business model. They have a lot of the drawbacks associated with ebooks, but they cost about 20% as much as a CD version and are more convenient. Book publishers could similarly drop the price of ebooks 80% from even the paperback copy price and still not hurt their profitability compared to the actual print copies.
            • Well, as a writer, I can tell you that the AUTHOR sure isn't getting much of the revenue ... and Amazon especially exploits indie authors.

              • Re:EBooks (Score:4, Interesting)

                by Daemonik ( 171801 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @09:32PM (#54331185) Homepage

                David Chilton; James Redfield; K.A. Tucker; Michael J. Sullivan; H.M. Ward; Barbara Freethy; Lisa Genova; Amanda Hocking; Hugh Howey; E.L. James.. all millionaires off Amazon self published ebooks. If you're an author and you aren't making money you're marketing yourself wrong or you're writing in a genre that isn't popular.

                Not that everyone is guaranteed to be a millionaire, but it seems like the most successful books on Amazon are trashy romances, sci-fi and fantasy serials. Also superhero and recently literary-RPG seems popular.

          • Re:EBooks (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @02:25PM (#54329569)

            I think a more honest answer is that they're afraid of ebooks cutting into their traditional business market. It's the same reason digital games cost as much as physical media. They don't want to piss off the retailers (who can retaliate by not displaying their wares as prominently), and in truth, it's not in their best interest to undercut them either.

            Digital is frightening to publishers, because they well understand that the cost of copying a digital copy is $0, and has no intrinsic value by itself. As such, many of them have been dragged into the digital age kicking, screaming, colluding, and price-fixing...

          • Those things are all true, but with ebooks, the opportunity should be in making it up in volume. At a better price point, you would expect a higher volume of sales. With almost no incremental cost per unit sold, cutting the price in half is justifiable.

            The publishers don't because they want to maintain control of the market and offset risks with fixed costs being covered by the hardcover release.
            • by Junta ( 36770 )

              I would *hope* so, but there's frankly a limit on how many people would purchase a work. I'm not so sure that a 50 shades series book would have much opportunity to sell to more people than they already did. I don't think I've heard many people say "oh, I would read that book, but I can't afford it".

              Of the people I know roughly their buying habits, their time budget for reading limits them far more than their money budget.

            • Here's the thing that truly pisses me off about publishers.. say you want to get into a series, the latest book is #50.. first off good luck finding the other 49, but if you do they cost the same amount as #50. It makes it not worth your time even picking up #50 and getting yourself involved in a series that will cost a fortune and a lot of time to track down.

              Amazon published e-books typically the first in the series is $2, then it gradually goes up to whatever the newest book costs. They understand sel

            • Re:EBooks (Score:4, Insightful)

              by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @01:07AM (#54331773) Homepage Journal

              Those things are all true, but with ebooks, the opportunity should be in making it up in volume. At a better price point, you would expect a higher volume of sales.

              The flip side of the coin is that the higher volume is mainly crap. The eBook vendors used to have mostly good quality books, that had been reviewed and accepted by publishers. But because the entry costs are so low, and anyone can self-publish, the ratio of rubbish to readable books has become truly bad. The volume is why I don't buy e-books anymore, except for by authors I already know. And even those suffer, with no proofreading or other quality control.

        • by hey! ( 33014 )

          I'm in my 50s and my house is literally full of physical books. Every room is lined with bookcases most of them stacked two deep, and I've literally had to put jackposts in my basement to keep the floors from sagging.

          Buying new books as ebooks means I don't have to get rid of my old books. It's also nice being able to travel with a generous selection of reading material.

          Overall I find the reading experience to be about a wash, but that's a highly personal thing. For pure reading a physical book is better

        • I can see a new release of a popular author in hardback costing $29, but an ebook? WTF? digital delivery should count for something.

          Do you mean you have heard of someone actually paying for an ebook?
          That would be like paying for music.

      • As far as I'm concerned, they don't make ebooks to be as user-friendly as regular books. I want a folding two-page ebook, that I can hold in both hands just like a regular book. The "next page" button would do the equivalent of flipping a regular-book-page, thus showing two new pages on the two-page ebook. Then the ebook can be advantageous by being thinner and lighter than the regular book (because many such books have quite-large numbers of pages). The ebook obviously needs a light-powered low-power di
        • Re: EBooks (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Miamicanes ( 730264 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @02:39PM (#54329629)

          Exactly. We now have 240ppi+ displays, but it's still basically impossible to buy a tablet with 14-16" 3840x2580 3:2 that weighs less than a pound (more than a pound, and it just becomes too heavily to hold open for extended periods of time) AND is fast enough to complete a pageflip in 150ms or less, or flip to some arbitrary page-pair in 250ms or less.

          Tech books NEED 2-up layout, because they frequently have a diagram on one page, with explanatory text on the facing page. Attempting to read a book like that one page at a time is a miserable use experience.

          IMHO, the MINIMUM specs for a tolerable ebook reader for tech books is something like the Chuwi Hi12... and it's *barely* fast enough to be tolerable. Anything less is just plain unacceptable. And tech support for Chuwi is a bit... difficult... unless you're fluent in Mandarin. A Surface Pro w/largest display would be better... but they're too expensive to use for JUST ebook-reading, and not quite good enough to use as your "real, one & only" computer.

    • Re:EBooks (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @12:27PM (#54329079)

      I happen to like eBooks very much.

      So do I. But I rarely buy them anymore, because they often cost more than a used paper book. I think that what is killing ebooks is Amazon's "More Buying Choices" tab. Plus, if I buy a paper book, I can resell it when I am done, or at least donate it to Goodwill for someone else to read.

      • Re:EBooks (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Daemonik ( 171801 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @12:52PM (#54329173) Homepage

        I agree with you on the pricing. You can tell that publishers are deliberately trying to keep ebooks less attractive than paper, especially when an ebook can be the same cost as a hardcover book, then when it finally drops it's still more expensive than the paperback.

        I just tend to buy more self published and small publisher books now, the ones that keep their prices under $4., as a bonus they typically skip the DRM nonsense too. Rather than waiting 7 years between sequels they're more like 1 year or less or have multiple ongoing series that you can binge on.

      • by Lorens ( 597774 )

        they often cost more than a used paper book

        Hell, for me (using Kobo) they mostly cost more than a NEW paperback, delivered by Amazon!

        I recently complained and was told that yeah, the price is aligned on the hardcover, and when the paperback comes out it takes them a lot of time to adjust the ebook price. If they say so... didn't buy the book.

      • For me it's the complete lack of ability to actually loan the book to someone else which should be pretty damn simple. But instead Amazon decided to make it overly complicated, and limited to a once in a lifetime nonsense, with 30 days to read. The lack of this feature, and resale, I believe, is why eBooks are overpriced.
      • by phayes ( 202222 )

        New ebooks do indeed come with price premium often making them more expensive than hardcovers -- which is why I never but new books when they come out.

        However, if you just wait a few years, the ebooks come down in price to paperback prices.

        That's why I'm happy with my 4000 ebook calibre library acquired around the same time as Napster was a big thing. I still have a backlog big enough that waiting a few years is not an issue and that's without spending all my time delving into the project Gutemburg classics

      • by Junta ( 36770 )

        Same across the board for most 'digital' with physical counterparts. If I 'buy' a digital video, it'd be more expensive (and more limited) than a blu-ray copy. Steam is about the only venue I've seen the downloaded copies sell for cheaper than boxed copies.

      • I happen to like eBooks very much.

        So do I. But I rarely buy them anymore, because they often cost more than a used paper book. I think that what is killing ebooks is Amazon's "More Buying Choices" tab. Plus, if I buy a paper book, I can resell it when I am done, or at least donate it to Goodwill for someone else to read.

        I don't buy paper books because I don't have any real place to store them when I'm done. I don't buy e books when they cost more than physical books. As a result I don't really buy as many books as I used to.

    • I'm ok with eBooks for borrowing them from a library, but I absolutely won't buy more to own. I've been burned enough times now over the years that I'd much rather have a paper copy. Two particular instances cement it for me:

      In the early 2000s there was an eBook written about behind the scenes Star Trek. It included a lot of interesting info and photos. The only way to acquire it was through an old Microsoft reader and it was heavily DRMed. It was locked to that device and needless to say it won't work

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 30, 2017 @11:42AM (#54328863)

    Maybe it's the surging price of ebooks. Ebooks are often close to the price of the hard cover, and generally more than the cost of the paperback... Add in the cost of a reader. And a smattering of DRM to lock you into one store or another.

    The industry has done pretty much everything it can to make ebooks not worth using.

    • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @11:54AM (#54328929) Journal

      I agree there's not really any cost savings, but I read ebooks largely for convenience. As to DRM, the only place it really fucks me up is graphic novels, which I have yet to figure out how to unlock, but for anything I buy off of Google Play, thus far a combination of Adobe Digital Editions 4 and ePUBee seems to do the trick. I appreciate that at some point that won't work any more, and then I may have to reconsider how I consume books (at the moment I buy a book, immediately rip out the DRM and then archive the epub).

    • The entire article is TradPub trying to desperately maintain relevance. In reality, total e-book sales rose 6%. It's only the large established publishers who saw a 17% downturn. Which means self-published and indie e-book titles rose a whopping 23%.

      • by kqc7011 ( 525426 )
        From the Passive Voice, "PG didn’t see any reference to how many ebooks were sold by publishers and authors who don’t report their sales to the Publishers Association. He also didn’t see Amazon’s name on the list of members on the Publishers Association website." And a link, http://www.thepassivevoice.com... [thepassivevoice.com]
    • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

      The big negative of physical books is size. I have close to 1,000 books on my phone and it's a negligible portion of my 128GB sd card. I can read anything I want anywhere I want with the equivalent of a library. I often reread books several times and there are many older books online for free. I draw the limit with magazines. I've tried but all the digital mags I've got I end up printing out all the articles I want to read. A few years ago I took over 2000 books to the local friends of the library sale clea

  • by MarcoPon ( 689115 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @11:44AM (#54328883) Homepage
    As an avid reader, I like my front illuminated ebook reader very much, thank you. And I don't regret a bit having to bring with me the latest big book (often not very well printed, or with a too small or too largh font) on the train to/from work to read.
    Manuals & tech info are an entirely different thing, of course, at least until I can get a big, flexible (as in bendable and unbreakable) speedy ereader.
  • by aepervius ( 535155 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @11:44AM (#54328885)
    if I want to go through page of a tech book, I can have a few colored page marker and go very quickly from 1 page to the next, it is far more slower with ebook. And the feeling of paper in hand is.... I dunno , psychologically better ? OTOH I am now by 900 books at home and it starts to cover literally whole walls.... But one things I remarked : more and more people go to my local bookshop than it was 4 years ago...
    • by lucm ( 889690 )

      How many of those 900 books are still relevant? You probably have classics worth re-reading, but I bet you also have things like "Writing Java Applets in 24h With Jbuilder 3.0".

      A physical library that has obsolete books is basically hoarding. I have obsolete ebooks but I don't download them on my Kindle or tablet, I can access them if needed but in the meantime they're Amazon's problem and that works well for everyone involved.

      • How many of those 900 books are still relevant?

        As someone who also owns over 1000 books, I'd say the vast majority of my collection is "still relevant," at least to me.

        You probably have classics worth re-reading, but I bet you also have things like "Writing Java Applets in 24h With Jbuilder 3.0".

        I don't tend to buy such books in the first place, if I can help it. I mostly buy physical books that I expect to last as reference works or whatever. If it's a short-term guidebook or something that will be obsolete in a couple years, I'll borrow it from a library or friend or buy a beat-up used copy and then get rid of it.

        A physical library that has obsolete books is basically hoarding.

        Agreed. But some people actually like reading beyond ephemeral

        • by xystren ( 522982 )

          And there is always the historical context that you get from printed books that is too often underrated and dismissed. While technology tend to be focused on the newest, latest, and greatest, but often forget how we got here.

          And for other non-technology type topics, such as history, and at the risk of being chased out of slashdot, dare I say the social sciences... So much context is lost without the understanding of the historical evolution. Books written on religion for example, especially in North America

    • if I want to go through page of a tech book, I can have a few colored page marker and go very quickly from 1 page to the next, it is far more slower with ebook. And the feeling of paper in hand is.... I dunno , psychologically better ? OTOH I am now by 900 books at home and it starts to cover literally whole walls.... But one things I remarked : more and more people go to my local bookshop than it was 4 years ago...

      Bingo. Real books are nice. I have a couple of thousand lining the walls downstairs in the rec room, and that's after losing ~1000 to floods and damage and theft and whatnot over the years. Everything from technical references to sci fi to weird offbeat stuff, how-to books, eclectic stuff, etc etc.

      EBooks are okay, but they're not my preferred media.

      • You lost books to theft? That seems surprising... I'd figure they'd grab the TV and split... I'd be livid to lose a book... moreso than the TV that realistically gets more use...
        • You lost books to theft? That seems surprising...

          Shitty room mates will steal anything that's not nailed down, and if it's nailed down they'll pry it up.

    • by creimer ( 824291 )
      If I buy a printed tech book these days, it's probably an older book that isn't available as an ebook or a previous edition of a current book that's too expensive. Why pay $100+ for a compiler book when you can buy an older compiler book for $5?
    • I am now by 900 books at home and it starts to cover literally whole walls

      That can be a good thing. If the people in the neighboring room are loud, a wall covered in bookshelves can block the noise very effectively.

    • if I want to go through page of a tech book, I can have a few colored page marker and go very quickly from 1 page to the next, it is far more slower with ebook. And the feeling of paper in hand is.... I dunno , psychologically better ?

      One major thing is the reliability of layout, with its effects on navigability. A well-designed book is also helpful in all sorts of more subtle ways, but the biggest issue with reflowing ebooks is that they destroy the sense of "location" that physical books have.

      I can pick up a book I haven't looked at in a few years, and I often can locate a passage very quickly just by remembering, "It was about 2/3 of the way through, and there was a diagram on the top of the left page... and some description about

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "...one-third of adults tried a 'digital detox' in 2016, limiting their personal use of electronics."

    As a medical professional, I feel obliged to point out that the most sensitive (i.e., least false negatives) single question you can ask to diagnose alcoholism is "have you ever tried to cut down on your drinking."

    The most specific is probably "do you hide alcohol around your house," so if you have smartphones taped to the underside of the toilet it's probably time to detox.

  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <moiraNO@SPAMmodparlor.com> on Sunday April 30, 2017 @11:52AM (#54328917)

    I still get hardcovers if the topic seems interesting enough and appears to have a long term value.

    I don't get DRM ebooks, they are a pain and a burden. I tried one amazon ebook "reamde" for kicks and one google playstore book, a thick WP devguide. DRM turned me off quickly in both cases. Reamde I'll get as paperback some day if I want to read it again and got the WP book as a zero-fuss PDF.

    I do have my fat Oreillys as PDF too - way easyer to lug around on my tablet. But getting them through official chanels is prohibitively expensive.

    Bottom line: I'm a tablet guy ( 10" Yoga 2 with Android) and even I distrust regular ebooks to an extent. So I'm not really surprised about about this news.

    • by lucm ( 889690 )

      Bottom line: I'm a tablet guy ( 10" Yoga 2 with Android) and even I distrust regular ebooks to an extent. So I'm not really surprised about about this news.

      I'm also a tablet guy (although I'd rather chew glass than buy Lenovo ones again) and the Kindle app is the first thing I install when I get a new tablet. It's as good as reading ebooks get; even the online version (read.amazon.com) is better than dealing with Pdf.

      I read on average two books a week. Done that for years. It has come to a point where I sometimes look at a book that seems interesting on amazon.com and when I try to buy it I see the message saying that I already own it... When that happens I qu

  • I'm sure the industry has nothing to worry about. The public just can't be getting smarter and wise to the evils of DRM and the limitations that the supposed ownership of digital media such as ebooks that it puts on them.
  • by sheramil ( 921315 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @11:55AM (#54328931)
    I like being able to enlarge the text without having to buy a large-print edition, if it exists. Moving my nose closer to the page just makes it harder to focus, before anyone suggests what Lister suggested to Kryten.
  • Love kindle, but... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by saberworks ( 267163 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @11:55AM (#54328941)

    I love my kindle but ever since the various publishers and amazon settled and they started setting their own prices, the ebook prices are way too expensive. In a lot of cases they are more expensive than the print copies and they have way more restrictions. I can't lend or give them to my brother (some pubs allow lending but only N times and only for 2 weeks at a time, which is absolutely ridiculous). I can't donate the book to a library if I don't plan to read it again. I would be ok with these restrictions if the ebooks were cheaper.

    The other thing that sucks on amazon/kindle is trying to find decent books. I have to go visit B&N to find new sci-fi/fantasy novels because the search/discovery on amazon is terrible. For every 1 fantasy novel by a major publisher and a well-regarded author, there are about 500 indie "books" that are just terrible. (Yes, there are some gems in there, but it's really difficult to find them.) It seems like amazon is just concerned with the volume of books on their store, not the quality of them. If I could filter out the "kindle unlimited" books from all of the lists it would make things a lot better.

    • by creimer ( 824291 )

      In a lot of cases they are more expensive than the print copies and they have way more restrictions.

      That's because traditional print publishers are trying to protect their print business. Given a choice between an overpriced ebook and slightly less expensive print book at Amazon, most consumers will buy the print book.

      • That's like neglecting digital photography to protect your film business.

        Worked sooooooo well for Kodak.

        • by creimer ( 824291 )

          That's like neglecting digital photography to protect your film business.

          The problem with film was that you needed to develop the film before you could have pictures. Digital photography took out that extra step. Print and ebooks are just different formats of the same content.

          Worked sooooooo well for Kodak.

          The verdict is still out on traditional publishers.

          • It's a strategic error to be frightened of cannibalising your own sales. Your competitors aren't.

            You rather missed the point there...

            • by creimer ( 824291 )

              It's a strategic error to be frightened of cannibalising your own sales. Your competitors aren't.

              True.

              You rather missed the point there...

              I'm not yet convinced that print is on the way out as film. Not everyone has a computer or access to digital devices. I'm reading a book about Facebook advertising ("Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley" [amzn.to] by Antonio Garcia Martinez). There are 7.5B people in the world who could use Facebook, but the actual number of users who can use Facebook is 1.5B — and Facebook is running out of users to sustain its growth. I think print may stick around longer than film.

  • by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @11:57AM (#54328947)
    It might be time for the e-book fad to slow down. They'll always be around, but I think that most regular readers have tried them at this point, and found something lacking.

    Everybody has an anecdote. Mine is that I don't know anybody who reads books on a gadget.
    • by Osgeld ( 1900440 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @12:19PM (#54329055)

      I think the opposite, the short term up in physical sales is a fad, like records and cassette tapes and other "remember when" items

      paper books infest the earth to the point that some places are charging you if you want to give them away

      • by DogDude ( 805747 )
        infest the earth

        Paper rots quite nicely, and can be grown again into more paper. Those electronic gadgets that will be around for thousands of years are certainly "infesting the earth".
  • by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @12:01PM (#54328971)

    Next month's headline:

    "As EBooks Surge, Paper Book Sales Plunge Nearly 20%"

    It's almost as if things went in cycles or had ebbs and flows....

  • by Rashkae ( 59673 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @12:01PM (#54328977) Homepage

    Here's a more thorough analysis of the trends, (in pretty, easy to understand graphs)

    http://authorearnings.com/repo... [authorearnings.com]

    In short, Market share of the publishers reporting their sales is *way* down.

    • by ET3D ( 1169851 )
      Thanks! Fascinating.
    • Yeah, the original article is way off reality. They're reporting on mainstream publishing house ebook sales only..

      The real story is that ebook sales are growing and Indie publishers and writers (not included in the cited stats) are taking over more and more of the market. So it's shrinking for traditional publishers, but growing overall.

  • by Scholasticus ( 567646 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @12:03PM (#54328983) Journal
    Though I enjoy reading books on my tablet very much, I've been buying fewer ebooks recently. This is mainly because many of the things I want to read are not available in any ebook format. So I've already bought many books as epubs (even things I already have in print version), but as I look for more obscure things, I'm not having as much luck. I can understand why a publisher wouldn't want to go to all the trouble of converting the complete short stories of W. Somerset Maugham, for example, to electronic format at high risk (few likely buyers). So I get the print version. Profits can be pretty slim in the publishing business, so I think electronic and print will coexist for some time. I have no desire for "digital detox" though.
  • "The article includes an even more interesting statistic: that one-third of adults tried a "digital detox" in 2016, limiting their personal use of electronics. Are any Slashdot readers trying to limit their own screen time -- or reading fewer ebooks?"

    No, I've always been able to manage my horrific, debilitating "digital addiction" without it spinning out of control. There's thing thing, it's called the "OFF" button...you should try it sometime.

    "I can quit any time I want, I just don't want any of those time

  • 0. They are not as easy to navigate as paper books.
    1. They are dependent on electricity.
    2. They are hard to share...

  • There are reasons I buy fewer ebooks. One is that I'm able to get audiobooks from my local library either physically or through Overdrive to read in the car during work drives. Two is that I'm able to check out ebooks through Overdrive from my local library. Three is that I'm able to read many books for free through Amazon Prime reading. I could also get the Kindle Unlimited for $10 a month. Through those options, I can get just about any book I want. So, there are few I HAVE to buy.

    Before, I bought a lot m

  • by Argon ( 6783 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @01:10PM (#54329249) Homepage

    All three in our family love ebooks on our Kindles, mainly for reading fiction. We also love our "real books" especially when the smaller format of the Kindle doesn't work or when the book has a lot of pictures. We gave our daughter her Kindle first when she was 7 and her reading habit has really taken off. She's now nearly 10 and still considers her Kindle one of the best gifts she ever had.

    The convenience of taking a whole library with you wherever you go and the front lit option for reading in your bed make a huge difference for all of us. Some how book lights never worked very well for me.

    ebook pricing is definitely a disaster, in India I often find physical books cheaper than ebooks, so I end up buying whatever version is cheaper. So I can understand why ebook sales can drop but that doesn't necessarily mean ebook reading is dropping. We subscribe to Kindle Unlimited and plenty of free (and legal) or cheap ebooks are available if you know where to look (Bookbub for example).

    As to digital detox, what do you the idiot box is? If the Kindle keeps my daughter away from the TV (and it did), I'm all for it!
     

  • I read on average 3 or 4 books a week; a mix of fiction and non. I have a Kindle Paperwhite, but my preference by far is print. The Kindle is too small, has too many page turns, and is uncomfortable to hold.

  • > one-third of adults tried a "digital detox" in 2016........ Are any Slashdot readers trying to limit their own screen time -- or reading fewer ebooks?

    Why the hell would I want to do that?

    I'm marinating my IPad in chocolate sauce as we speak and plan on frying it in bacon grease tomorrow so that I can devour as many juicy photons being emitted as possible.

  • Fundamentally, an ebook reader is just a specialized tablet and if I wanted to "read" on a tablet, I would. But I don't. There is no way that any tablet, etc. that I've seen that can match the overall experience of dead trees. Never any: dead batteries; "please turn off all electronic devices while we're on the tarmac"; "you're access to this book has been denied"; etc. Really - who needs them?
  • I have always been an avid reader - but for some reason only books that I owned. Libraries didn't work for me. And I never threw away a book. So in my houses always a seizable room was reserved as a private library and book storage.
    Five years ago I weaned myself away from the paper book. Then I sought (and found) om internet the ebook equivalents and gave away the paper copies. So within a few years I had an empty room here my library once existed. When I moved into a new house, it could be smaller - and ch

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @01:55PM (#54329451) Homepage

    Basically, print books are far superior to ebooks.

    Paperbacks are cheap and you can mistreat them / throw them away / easily give them away / sell them / donate them.

    Hard cover are nice and large and easy to read. They feel good and are a much better experience.

    The real problem for me are the graphics. Which is a shame because obviously the ebooks COULD be far superior. But they aren't. They totally suck when it comes to any graphics. They don't move, they don't enlarge. They aren't in color. Worst of all, they somehow manage to shrink them down so even though the ereader is BIGGER than the paperback, the drawing is SMALLER on the ebook. Not to mention the fact that while the resolution is good enough for letters, it is too low for good graphical display.

    When I buy a book that has a map (like many sci-fi/fantasy books), I enjoy the map. I ignore it in an ebook. While I feel cheated.

    Basically the only time I ever want to get an ebook is when space is at a premium. Airline trips for example.

    • wait till you get old, you'll find e-books superior. I can't focus on the tiny print in paper books for long. And the prices for the books I like are much cheaper for electronic version

      • I currently need reading glasses for most paperbacks. I would still rather read them then an ebook, in part because I find the large print settings on ebooks to be poorly done. Particularly on smaller ereaders, it isn't worth the effort.

  • The reader software blows in theory you can do a fluid layout but it is so incompatible across readers. About the best seems to be google playbooks but a lot use Adobe digital editions it's really hard to position pictures. For example you can not be sure if a caption will be under a picture or on the next page. ADE's quirks are different to ibooks quirks Straight text is ok but anything else is a nightmare. You can't even be sure that a photo will appear on 1 screen or split across 2

    Fixed layout epub is a

  • by OneHundredAndTen ( 1523865 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @02:59PM (#54329747)

    1) DRM - getting DRM'd ebooks is a pain in the neck, unless you happen to have the exact device specifically approved by the content's owner. Even in that case, it can be a pain the neck.

    2) Lack of control - the content's owner lets you access such content. That is all. The owner can override that permission at will.

    3) Price - ebooks are insanely expensive, bearing in mind that the format removes lots of costs, when compared with traditional books.

    As long as the three issues above stay, ebooks will be niche products - and ebook piracy will remain rampant.

  • I love ebooks. I tend to read mostly on holidays. And ebooks have many advantages for me: a lot less luggage, and I can decide during the holiday what to read. I just buy a book I want to read at Amazon, transfer it to my old Sony E-reader and then read it. With paper I could never do that. Amazon has nearly everything I could want and just a click away.

    The old reader has no internet to speak of so it prevents me from keeping an eye out for email and browsing. Just don't read on a device that can

  • Kindle Oasis is definitely pricey, but I've been reading so much more since I got it. It's the perfect reading device... light, easy to hold with one hand, sharp illuminated screen that works both inside and outside as well as paper... and when I'm done with a book, I can browse for, buy, start reading the next one immediately.

    I have very little reason to go back to paper, at least for fiction.

  • Tablets, from my family and my own perspective as well as what I'm reading in the media, seem to have peaked and are now in decline.
    Yes? No?
    I've bought ebooks and I like that I can get any book instantly. That's it though, that's the only benefit it has.
    I still prefer printed hard copy, which you can share, donate, re-sell and throw at anything displeasing.
    Perhaps so much of our life and possessions has become intangibly digital that many of us still want some things we can physically own and touch.

(1) Never draw what you can copy. (2) Never copy what you can trace. (3) Never trace what you can cut out and paste down.

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