Readers everywhere have been faced with the same dilemma for years now: keep the physical books, or switch to an e-reader? The tumultuous state of humanity’s current technological stampede into the future may make this choice seem difficult, but really it isn’t a choice at all. Like vinyl, paper may be phasing out but it certainly isn’t dying, just evolving.
It is undeniable that the invention of the e-reader dramatically improved the reading experience for many bookworms. The ability to instantly receive almost any book any time, and the amazing realization that your personal library was suddenly at your disposal 24/7, was amazing. And of course an audible portion of people lashed back immediately, claiming paperback superiority. In the grand scheme of things though, both mediums have advantages and disadvantages.
Today it may seem like the physical books were the right choice, considering that, according to Nielsen Bookscan, a data provider that tracks almost 85 percent of the print market, the sales of physical books even went up approximately 2 percent in 2015. These numbers were skewed, though, by the sudden surge in adult coloring books and the release of the only other book ever written by famous author Harper Lee.
However, the Nielsen Bookscan data does prove that physical books have their own niche and purpose. Barring the Lee anomale, it should be obvious why adult coloring books didn’t surge in the e-reader market. Such a niche should be exploited by publishers in an attempt to expand the print market again.
The massive online retailer Amazon took that idea to heart as it opened its own brick-and-mortar bookstore in Seattle in November of last year. The store is uniquely stocked with books selected through Amazon’s vast collection of customer data, and each book is advertised with real Amazon user reviews and ratings.
Amazon is taking the first steps involved in integrating the world of physical and digital media, and such evolution should be embraced. And when the “dying” media of 2016 is being sold in a Barnes & Noble alongside a turntable, it will be a long while before it disappears completely, if at all.