The Future of Publishing and E-Books

“There are some 40 million e-readers and 65 million tablets in use in the U.S., according to analysts at Forrester Research. In the first quarter of 2012, e-books generated $282 million in sales, compared to $230 million for print, the Association of American Publishers recently found.”  — quoted from The Wall Street Journal:  Your E-Book Is Reading You

The above-linked article is filled with some very interesting information regarding the e-book phenomenon.  Not only are e-books changing the current shape of the publishing industry as a whole, but it may just well impact what kind of fiction gets produced.

As this article illustrates, the e-book giants are collecting a tremendous amount of data on the reading habits of e-book consumers, and sharing it with publishers.  Everything from what books folks buy, how long it takes to read, do they finish the story, last page read, etc.  So much information is being tracked and stored that privacy concerns are being raised and legislation sought to protect consumers.

It will be interesting to see what the future holds for all involved – publishers, booksellers, readers, and authors alike.

As a reader –  on the one hand, I’m all for progress.  I see the value that new technologies and collection of consumer data can provide to individuals on many levels.  I find my Kindle incredibly convenient to  use (as long as I remember to keep the battery charged) and I enjoy the plethora of choices available to me within the speed of a single click.

Yet on the other hand, I love paper.  Holding a newly acquired book, burying my face to smell its freshly printed pages, running an admiring hand across its jacket, fills me with joy.

As a writer – I’m just going to keep writing.  And hope “that a data-driven approach [will not] hinder the kinds of creative risks that produce great literature.” — quoted from Your E-Book is Reading You.


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