When e-readers arrived on our doorsteps a few years ago, it seemed like they were going to dominate the publishing world. Then something happened. They didn’t.
Of course some of us saw the writing on the wall. Specific e-readers, specific book formats, prices of e-Books that weren’t that much lower than paper books. Now it turns out that a growing share of Americans are reading e-Books on tablets, and mobile devices versus specific e-readers, but here’s the real truth – print books remain more popular than e-books. And the percentage reading books hasn’t increased in the past five years. 4 in 10 Americans read only print books, and only 6% read digital exclusively. Who thought that it would end up this way?
Why? Because e-Books bite. I dislike them, and I have a house littered with iPads (which are used mostly for travel, games, and web-browsing). I thought for a while I would get interested in digital magazines, and I still buy a couple from overseas, but only because they are hard to come buy here (and often cheaper digitally). But I don’t like them much either, I prefer to have a physical magazine, and a stack of physical cookbooks. Books are tangible. They exist and the stories within them make them come alive. They don’t need to be recharged. They can be read in a train, or on a beach. You can even read them while having a bath if you want.
It could also be because of something called digital fatigue. People may be tired of digital devices, and may prefer to spend their time reading a real book. When you are on devices for work all day, it is hard to pick up another digital device. And then there is sleep – studies have shown that people who read with electronic devices have 50% less melatonin, the stuff that help regulate sleep patterns.