Will E-books Equal Bare Bookshelves Some Day?

   By drodriguez  Sep 18, 2011

A recent SheSpeaks poll reveals that many of our members have stepped into the age of e-books with more than 20% saying they use an e-reader (like the Kindle), a smartphone, or tablet to get their lit-fix. E-readers seem to be the most popular among our members with almost 14% preferring this format.

If you ever thought the growing popularity of e-books could one day equal bare bookshelves, you may not be so off the mark. A New York Times report reveals a dramatic decrease in the sale of mass market paperbacks (those inexpensive little books that can just about fit in your back pocket) and blames e-books for taking a lot of revenue away from this format.

The Association of American Publishers released a survey last month that shows mass-market paperback sales have fallen a whopping 14% since 2008. Literary agent, David Gernert, comments on the decline of these paperback sales, “Five years ago, it was a robust market. Now it’s on the wane, and e-books have bitten a big chunk out of it.”

The penny-pinchers among us, who have found that the e-book edition is released sooner than a mass-market paperback and costs about the same, have welcomed the e-book format with open arms.

Book traditionalists have no fear, with almost 80% of our members still preferring hard covers and paperbacks we probably won’t see our “good old-fashioned” books disappearing any time soon. But at the same time, the convenience of e-books are only gaining in popularity among readers.

Do you think the decline of mass-market paperbacks means we may also see a similar decline in the sale of hard covers and trade paperbacks?

Tell us how you read books!

Make a Comment

rbhika by rbhika | FRANKLIN, TN
Sep 18, 2011

i agree that ebooks are easier to get, but favorites, classics, religious, reference books will always be wanted to physically touch. besides i love going to the library - the feel and smell of books makes the experience more real

littllebluecat by littllebluecat | Lakeside, CA
Sep 18, 2011

I love my Kindle for reading novels. But I'll always have my bookcases filled with cookbooks, reference books, etc. Some books just don't have a place on an eReader.

txaggiemom76 by txaggiemom76 | Hewitt, TX
Sep 18, 2011

I hope not! As a retired early elementary teacher, kids need to have the full experience of reading by having someone read to them, looking at picture books and then learning to read on their own. Kids love going to the school library and choosing a book to take home with them. As your children and grandchildren outgrow their books, consider donating them to a school library.

Jstakelin by Jstakelin | Madison, IN
Sep 18, 2011

I don't think so. Theres always something special about going to a bookstore or a library and searching through all the books. Especially the older classics.

giovecoupons by giovecoupons | Colonia, NJ
Sep 18, 2011

I read books on my ipad, kindle, and now via my droid. The abundance of reading apps and hardware, I feel, will slowly start to bring some of the major bookseller chains down. I love Barnes and Noble, but if I want a book, it takes me 1 minute to download, compared to 45 minutes going to their store. I think once prices for Ebooks decline (as I feel they should), then you are really going to see drastic change with regards to booksellers and physical book usage. And why not save a tree?

McCulley by McCulley | Battle Creek, MI
Sep 18, 2011

I don't think so, because a lot of people still want to "feel" a real book in their hands.

bracie69 by bracie69 | Bremerton, WA
Sep 18, 2011

My son has a Sony E-reader. I bought him one last year due to his Accelerator Reading program at school. I was spending so much money to keep him reading and when he really enjoyed a book it would last maybe three days. The school library didn't have the books he wanted or they were already checked out. I find it easy to use and so does he. Sometimes when we download a series that he is currently reading we get a price break.