In the past few years, we have seen the explosive growth of the e-book market. The easy accessibility of online books, through readers like the Amazon Kindle or apps on smartphones and tablets, has resulted in well over 1000% growth of the market over the last 5 years.
At first I was sceptical about reading a book off a screen. I have always been one to love the feel of a book as much as what’s written in it, and have accumulated what seems to be a small library in my study. I love seeing all my old favourites arranged on the shelf and am happy to pass books on to friends and family.
It was after Christmas dinner last year that my sister showed off her brand new Amazon Kindle which her partner had given her. After a few cynical jibes (partly in defence of my much loved library), I actually found myself guiltily falling for it, and spent the rest of the afternoon reading through The Hunger Games ebook.I managed to fight off my sister’s attempts to reclaim her present with similar ferocity as the fighting characters of the book! The prerogative to set an example to the kids to share their new presents went straight out the window. I was hooked.
As much as I enjoyed the story, I just found the Kindle so easy to read. I fought my way through the crowds of the boxing day sales to pick up my own and downloaded the 50 Economic Ideas ebook by Edmund Conway, as part of Christmas “homework” as instructed by my manager at work. I had the original at home ready to read, but I found that with the Kindle I was able to read just about anywhere, finishing it 1 week quicker than expected. I even found I was learning about the world of business, economics and trading whilst ordering a coffee.
Sometimes I like to re-read small parts of my favourite stories, and a Kindle has made it so much easier to do this. So in the tube I often re-read some of the paragraphs of The Hobbit ebook – one that I used to read when I was still young.
Don’t get me wrong, I still LOVE paper books; the library is still there. But having discovered how easy and enjoyable reading with a Kindle is, there is no surprise that “real book” sales are actually in decline.