Thanks To Technology, Are More or Less Books Sold?


If you’re like me, you look around your surroundings (where it be an airport, a doctor’s office, the beach, etc.) and take note of what other people are reading. Well, a few days ago, I was at the nail salon and I observed something. With classic love songs being played in the background and my fake nails were being put on, I saw a lot of other women around with their iPads and iPhones, swiping pages. This leads me to think they were reading. Well, what book was it? Was it something along the lines of “Fifty Shades of Grey” that they wanted to hide, or was it more tame, like a wonderful summer read I recommend, “Finding Lucas” by Samantha Stroh Bailey? Nobody knew that I was reading “In Need of Therapy” by Tracie Banister, which had me laughing out loud.

This led me to observe something else. While word of mouth is good for book sales, how much does seeing a book matter? Being a visual person, I think it means a lot. I like to see where pages have been turned down and bookmarks between pages because it makes me think it’s a good book, so they kept going, at least that’s what most people I know do. I’m most likely to go buy a new book if I see someone reading it, and of course, because of the cover. For me, covers really so sell, but how do I see the pretty cover if they’re reading on an eReader?

Don’t get me wrong, I love technology a lot, especially its convince. I can be anywhere and be reading! How cool is that?! Does the fact that you can  buy books with just one button, or since so many people are self-publishing and sell their books for low-cost, truly matter anymore?

Part of me thinks that books will be obsolete, which saddens me. I still have my .99 cent 1981 version of Cinderella, which was the year I was born. To me, that’s priceless, but these days, kids don’t know what a paper book is. I could go on and on about how much I think it’s important for kids to read “real” books, but these days “real” books are iBooks/eBooks.

I want your opinion. Thanks to technology, are more or less books sold?

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8 thoughts on “Thanks To Technology, Are More or Less Books Sold?

  1. Great article! I think more books are sold, (for example, my mom and a lot of her friends who used to only get free books from the library now do purchase e-books due to the low price and “no pressure” to finish them within a time frame) although due to the lower prices of e-books, the overall dollar amount annually may be the same or lower.

    I recently had a similar experience on vacation in Hawaii… I was dying to know what everyone was reading! (However, I did stop myself from walking over to strangers and saying, “Are you interested in a good book? Because let me tell you all about MY books!…”) LOL!

  2. I look at it this way: book covers may not be the walking billboards they used to be, BUT technology is also bringing books to more people. Whether I’m walking around with a paper book or announcing on Goodreads or Amazon that I’m reading a book, it has the same effect. I may actually be reaching more people on Amazon or Goodreads. I’m surely reaching a wider geographic area. So I’m not sure if this an issue of technology helping or hindering the sale of books. Like Lori said, it’s my experience that people are using libraries less often than they used to, because they can get free or bargain e-books without a deadline to read those books. And don’t worry about kids not knowing what paper books are; most school districts still use a traditional library system, plus their textbooks are physical books. And I know a lot of kids who prefer to read paper books, because they stare at screens all day long and want a break. They actually think the paper books are novelties, just like we used to think of e-books at novelties. I DO wish I knew more often what people were reading on their electronic devices. I’m nosy that way.

  3. Personally, I prefer to read on my Kindle. It’s just so convenient! I do think there is a deluge of free or cheap ebooks, so I agree with Lori and Brea in that I think more books might be sold, but less money is being earned. I’m just guessing, though. I kind of got burnt out on all the free and super cheap e-reads. My Kindle is exploding! So, now my reading habits have kind of reverted back to the way they were before I got my Kindle. I’m reading books that I really *want* to read, no matter the price. Not just cheap books. As for book covers, I am totally influenced by them. A bad or boring cover will cause me to pass over the book, despite rave reviews. I’m sure others feel the same way. But, technology is how I find my new reads these days – mainly with Goodreads or via the many book blogs I follow.

  4. I still read both ebooks and paper books, and love nothing more than going to library and looking for new books. Kindle has made me read more authors I may of not otherwise, but still love my actual books. I think because kindles are pricey then some people may still buy books or borrow them from the library, because yes kindle books can be cheap, but to buy the kindle is not.

  5. Great post. I love all books. I have more than 500 unread paperbacks/hardbacks in my home library (a whole room dedicated to books), plus around 400 on my Kindle – I stopped downloading free books more or less a year ago, as my Kindle got too clogged up. I got my Kindle as I was travelling all over the world and for a 2-3 week trip I would take 8 books with me and books are heavy. I love how when I am eating alone, I can read my Kindle by flicking a button, rather than balancing the pages of a paper book open with 2 heavy coasters! My experience is technology has helped people read. My OH didn’t read much and now he is reading all the classics. On holiday I noticed every second person had a Kindle or iPad. Personally I think it’s all to the good.

  6. I actually think that there are two separate reading audiences. There are the people who peruse the book stores and look for the best sellers and those traditionally published and then there are the people who stalk Amazon for quality but more economic books to read on their e-readers. As an indie published author, my target audience is the latter and I sell plenty of books that way but I know from being the organizer of a book club that the former is still going strong because my members are still more comfortable reading and paying for books by Emily Giffin and Beth Harbison, whose books they can see in the stores than, for example, Talli Roland, Michelle Gorman, Tracie Banister, Samantha Stroh Bailey, myself and so many others whose books are not in the mainstream yet selling pretty well electronically. Great article.

  7. I agree with the others that people love the convenience of e-books. You can be anywhere and purchase a book. There are also others that just love the feeling of reading a book that they can physically touch. Aside from libraries there are also more discount book stores that sell physical books at great prices like 2nd and Charles and Half Price Books. I get a lot of my books from Half Price Books.

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