Are Printed Books Disappearing?

I started publishing in 1997 before the time of the eBook era. Getting a printed book done was pretty easy. Layout/typesetting was straightforward as was the cover design. What you saw on the computer screen as the book’s pdf file was exactly what you got when printed. But when the use of eBooks began to surge, things got much more complicated. E-book files were free flowing and displayed differently on each device, and the reader had the ability to choose his own font type and font size – suddenly you lost control of the layout. You also had to learn how to upload on all retailers, all the different file types, and the different pricing that takes place, and much more. But the opportunities were much bigger and the market greatly expanded – one could now sell books worldwide to everyone!

I clearly remember the beginning of 2010 when I first published to the kindle store and Apple iBooks – everyone was super excited and it seemed that printed books would die off pretty soon. But have printed books disappeared? No, but it lead to major changes in the publishing industry. I experienced it first hand with the closing of many bookstores and some of my publishing competitors went bankrupt as they missed out on the eBook opportunities. Many were not interested or did not take the eBook business serious. For some it was just too different and too complicated, apparently it was too much to learn.

However, printed books are still here with us to this day, and it’s doing pretty well. Yes, there are less and less bookstores but nowadays everything is bought online (at least in the US) and closing of stores is not only affecting bookstores.

There is still a large population of readers who prefer printed books over eBooks.

As an author and publisher, I have seen great results in initial sales with eBooks in 2010 and a steady rise till 2017. Since then, printed books had a comeback and still continue to sell more and more copies. 

Do you prefer eBooks or Print? And if you’re an author, how are your results with print or eBook?