Are Publishers Underestimating the Desirability of Print?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

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By Edward Nawotka

In today’s lead story, research by Forrester revealed that more than half of publishing executives in the USA anticipate e-books will be the dominant format by 2014. While the exact meaning of the word “dominant” can be debated, it nevertheless suggests a radical shift in consumer habits away from print to digital. It also anticipates widespread use of digital reading devices by at least half of all readers.

Demographics may delay mass e-book adoption longer than publishers think.

Will this indeed be the case? Women buy far more books than men, but men tend to buy more gadgets. Will women convert wholeheartedly to e-readers? Perhaps . . . and it will be interesting to see if device manufacturers can make the industrial chic slate gray and aluminum devices more appealing to females. At the same time, we have a vast population of baby boomers who are reaching retirement age who are also likely to buy more books, particularly as they have more leisure time. Will this demographic — one that certainly likes to be thought of as younger than it is, but also one that has lived with print for most of its life — transition to e-reader? Again…perhaps, but there’s no guarantee.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

Edward Nawotka is the Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. A former foreign correspondent, he has covered the book business exclusively since 2000, serving as daily news editor for Publishers Weekly and columnist for Bloomberg News.