E-Readers: Making Readers Out of More People Than Ever

Amy Vernon November 15 Gadgets

There’s a lot of hand-wringing over the so-called “dumbing-down” of America. We don’t read, we can’t write except in and LOLcat-speak, we barely know who’s president.

Technology often takes the blame for some of this, with video games and the abbreviated speech of texts and Twitter squarely in the sights of our educators.

But e-readers are beginning to create new readers and are getting more people than ever to buy books and read them. We’re buying 57 books a second in the United States, between the paper and electronic varieties. And though sales of print books have been declining (not precipitously, mind you) over the past few years, sales of electronic books are increasing even faster.

Once you get past the price of the e-reader, the cost of an electronic book is considerably less than the cost of a new print book – averaging $9.99 vs $25.99. To be sure, many people who buy print books are buying them secondhand, and those figures aren’t included in the infographic below from RetailMeNot, but the book industry relies on those initial sales.

Written by Amy Vernon

Amy Vernon is vice president of strategy for Hasai, a digital marketing firm, and a 20-year veteran of daily newspaper journalism. She blogs on many sites about many subjects, including NetworkWorld and Parentables.
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  • http://www.blurbpoint.com/link-building-services.php Link Building Services

    Days when people most choose the online sources for their smaller need. And with that now online readers have increased. As this is because they can find more sources online for choice of best books and not need to visit the places and this saves the time.
    Not only this but now they do not have to be worried to keep the book safe for the future use as now people be the more lazy and careless. And that is why they find the online as the best option.

  • Anonymous

    I love the potential that digital textbooks have. The more interactive they become the better. I plan on getting an iPad and making the switch to college online textbooks this next semester

  • Noone

    I would like to see more info on how it only cost 50 cents to produce a physical copy of a Hardcover book, but it somehow costs 8 times as much  (4.05) to produce a non physical electronic copy?

  • http://twitter.com/tyla808 Thaila Kaikana

    I love eReaders with my digital subscriptions to my favorite magazines, daily newspapers as well as my digital book shelf filled with all my current reads…if I could but dog-ear the beginning of my favorite chapter so I could go back and re-read that one paragraph…

    I love eReaders. I also hate them. I love progress and I intellectually know that I can’t stop it, nor come between “it” and our collective futures however I hate losing the “tangible”…yes, yes of course an eReader is tangible but I’m talking about lying on the couch and folding the cover and previous chapters over type of tangible. I’m talking dog-earring my favorite page tangible. I’m talking about pulling out that long drawer full of index cards and using the Dewey Decimal System to find my book. I’m talking about the “old days” of that bygone era. It’s not even technically an era (is it?!) change and progress is happening so quickly. Technological advances that used to take 15-20 years now happen with 5…perhaps more like 2 or 3. Meh, I digress. 

    My point is this: are we embracing too much, too fast. I’m glad more people are reading via eReaders. And I know that a big portion is because of it’s “engagement” and user interface.  I mean regular books are “boring” but on the other hand with all the sensational, visually stimulating products out there when given the choice who wouldn’t choose using an eReader or tablet?  But we are also training our younger generations to not only expect but crave this type of stimulation and convenience. I mean why leave the house and drive to the book store or library when you can download one in seconds while still in your pjs? With the closing of Borders/Waldenbooks and other smaller bookstores as well as the Library of Congress digitally indexing Tweets…I’m not sure losing all these types of tangible things are good. My 2-year old daughter will never know what a record, tape or even CD is.  She’ll never own a DVD. She’ll also probably never willingly pick up one of my dusty collections of Emily Dickinson poems. But I’ll make sure to tell her stories of public libraries and boomboxes and *gulp* buying records at the record store…

    Sorry…thanks for listening to my rant :)