Are eBooks dying? eBooks, no; eReaders, maybe yes.
Following the ascension of the eBook some years ago, sales of late have plateaued. And while more e-reading devices were released in 2018 than in any other year, actual sales of eReaders declined. This seems not to be because less people are reading eBooks, but because eReaders themselves are more durable and less likely to be ditched in favour of the latest greatest model every year, as many of us do with our smartphones and, crucially, because more people are reading eBooks on their phones or tablets.
For the publishing industry this means that it’s more important than ever to ensure cross-platform compatibility of our eBooks – do they render well on Kindle for Android? How about Google Play Books? How about iBooks and the smaller retailers’ platforms?
And then there’s the rise of audiobooks, but this also doesn’t have to be bad for eBooks. Many of the devices used for eBooks are used for audio, be that Audible on mobile, Amazon’s Whispersync or another platform. And while audiobooks are great for many occasions, sometimes we just want to sit down with our books and read them with our eyes, so it’s important to not let the quality of our eBooks slip just because of a plateauing of sales.
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