And so it continues – the question of which sells more, e book or real book. Long gone are the days when it was believed/feared that the invention of the e reader would slowly but surely wipe out the existence of the printed book. The two seem to co exist quite happily. But latest sales figures show that sales of e books are now actually lagging behind slightly. This has been attributed to the recent popularity of some non fiction titles, namely cook books and books about the Danish concept of hygge, the popularity of which doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
But for me, being a member of a few online bookish communities, and a follower of several bookstagram accounts (as well as having my own), I think there is a growing strong pull back towards physical books, whether fiction or non fiction. Books aren’t just about reading, or the pleasure of turning real pages. Its about the look, the style, the beauty of the cover art, putting it on the shelf and arranging (and rearranging) the shelf so it looks just so. It’s about taking beautiful pictures and sharing them online. Its about the huge explosion in the popularity of book subscription boxes – the love of receiving not just a book, but specially selected coordinating items. Books are matched with candles, bookmarks, jewellery, tea, stationery, mugs… All very visually and physically appealing.
In recent years, having the latest gadget has really mattered to the general public. Phones, tablets, smart watches, iPods… (other music players are available.)The e reader was, at one time, another one of those must haves. And most readers no doubt rushed out and bought one, followed by the relevant app on their mobile or tablet. But it hasn’t taken long for us all to realise that the real book was the real must have all along. A book is a thing of beauty. An e reader is not. Even if the e book has the same cover as the physical version, it’s very difficult to take a good photo of it (believe me, I’ve tried).
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not completely against e readers. They have revolutionised travelling – I remember when I practically needed a second suitcase to go on holiday, and recall desperate attempts to squeeze a large hardback into my handbag before a train journey. Thankfully that time is no more. Plus, e readers have opened up a whole new world in the realms of publishing/self publishing, and it’s interesting to note that the sales figures I mentioned earlier don’t actually include sales of self published e books. For the travelling reason alone I’ll probably never get rid of my Kindle, and access to the app on my phone means I’m literally never without a book, which is great. But will it ever be my format of choice? No.
If you like bookstagram accounts and would like to see more images like the ones featured on my blog, please follow me @rachelb_reads.