As a writer, I’ve been keeping a lizard eye on the advent of the ebook. With app developers falling over themselves to capture the e-reading market and the relative low cost of e-readers in general, the technology seems to be leading the interest in reading books electronically. Skimming the sales charts of the last few years, we might see it as a passing trend. Our hunger for the devices spiked in 2011 and since then, has in fact been decreasing. And with less than a quarter of the market in the first half of 2014, ebook sales seem to be struggling to stay relevant.
Nonetheless, a good smattering of public readers where I live are glued to their Kindles, eNooks and an abundance of other tablets for their daily lit. With so many adopting the technology, the ebook seems to have legs, at least in readerly places such as Portland.
Judging from the numbers, print is still the safest bet in publishing. But in many ways, the trend in e-reading represents another promising avenue for writers to reach their mark. As more content reaches the e-reading public, so the technology continues to improve. The connective tissue of course, is the business of publishing. Writers, especially those of the self-publishing vein, should be aware of the costs and benefits involved in publishing ebooks. This is where I’ll direct you to an excellent post by Stephanie Ostroff in Writers Circle, E-Books: Pros & Cons of the Top 5 Self-Publishers. The piece presents some of the most popular publishers of ebooks and how writers might make use of them.
My bet is that we’ll be seeing books in print for a long time to come, but what we see in the ebook industry portends the future of writing. Is it also an opportunity to level the playing field for writers?