We Are Living Through a Reading Revolution; and it’s AWESOME!
A little factoid keeps popping up that seems to be surprising the publishing industry: once someone purchases an e-reader (any e-reader) they start to buy more books. Not just e-books, but ALL books! Paperbacks in particular, but hardcovers as well.
The industry seems to be scratching their heads, which just further proves to me how completely out of touch the publishers are with the readers. Because really, this is a great big DUH! Kindles, Nooks, iPads, and tablets everywhere have not only put one-click purchasing into the hands of consumers, but (and this is the important part here) made reading affordable and convenient again. I know I’m not the only one who would plan a lovely afternoon to browse the book store, enjoy a coffee, and agonize over my purchase. Because I was only getting one. It was all I could afford. And if I took a chance on a stinker, well, I was screwed until next time.
But not anymore. This new world has its ups and downs (that’s life) but the ups are pretty fantastic. Thanks to this shift, books are affordable. And a lot more stories, different stories, are finding their way to the mass market, not just the ones cherry-picked by the publishers. Sure this has meant a lot of crap is now out there, but there is an abundance of wonderful that never would have seen publication otherwise.
And thanks to reviews and websites like Goodreads, when I hear about a book I can check out what others are saying about it. I know what I like and after scrolling through a few reviews (not just the gushing 5-stars, but the real ones) I can usually tell if a book seems like something I’d be interested in.
But back to the paperbacks. It really shouldn’t be that shocking that e-reader users start buying more paperbacks. These are the disenfranchised! These are the masses of consumers the publishers have ostracized over the last two decades. Once rabid readers who, thanks to busy lives, no longer had the time or money to find a good book, let alone take a chance on that book for $15.99 (or the truly painful $29.99). In my book, that’s two lunches out. Or a new toy for my kid to keep him entertained for an afternoon. Or a new shirt… you get my point. For the price, people like me decided it wasn’t worth the cost.
But then we got an e-reader. And bought anywhere from one to fifteen books for that same amount of money. And got sucked back down the reading rabbit hole we used to live in when life was simpler.
And the more you read, the more you want to read. Yes, we are buying lots of e-books and loving our e-readers. But we are still buying paperbacks. Especially those special ones. The ones that really touch our hearts. The ones we want to keep on our bookshelves and smile at every time we pass by. The ones we can have signed one day.
It is the same in the music industry. Times have changed. But people still buy CD’s, or even more popular right now, Vinyl The truly good artists will always be able to sell their product to the rabid consumers who want a piece of the magic.
I hope the publishing industry starts to understand what an opportunity they have at their fingertips right now. They have consumers absolutely chomping at the bit to be presented with more product. E-readers just happened to be the means through which the massive divide between the publishers and the consumers was made visible. The consumers were there, they just weren’t being fed what they wanted. Until now.