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And the Survey Says...Publishers Ignoring eReaders

Survey Here's some disturbing news I read earlier this morning.  It's from a survey conducted by the organizers of the Frankfurt Book Fair and it has to do with the future of our industry.  I was stunned to read that "60 percent of publishers who answered a questionnaire neither use e-readers themselves nor download the e-books which can be read on the devices or on computers."  Wow.

Regardless of your opinions about the current generation of e-readers, you owe it to yourself and your career to invest in one and get familiar with it.  Owning a Kindle has had a significant impact on how I view our industry.  It's also sparked a number of new product ideas I never would have envisioned without hands-on e-reader experience.

Perhaps this weak e-reader interest is a function of industry hubris.  I'll be the first to admit that print may never die but I'm always amazed when I come across yet another publisher/editor who feels e-content will never take off.

That probably helps explain another statistic that jumped out at me in this survey: Only 14% think publishers could vanish someday.  I'll bet there's 100% overlap between the respondents in that 14% and the 40% from above who actually use e-readers!

Comments

Maggie Hilliard

Wow--those are surprising numbers indeed. Thanks for sharing the link.

Writer Dad

That's startling, and I'm positive you're right. I don't believe that print will ever die, but there's definitely hybrid on the horizon.

I just want to say I love your blog. I rarely comment, and I'm fairly new to these parts, but I've read every word for a while. Thanks.

Michael A. Banks

Print will never die. And eReaders will catch on, in time. They're just a bit radical (and high-priced).

The same circumstances existed with home computers and online services. How long did some of you own an Apple II or TRS-80 before you weren't unusual? And it was probably 10 years or better after you signed up for CompuServe, The Source, Q-Link, MCI Mail, or AOL that you began to see business contacts using email.

Word-of-mouth may be what pulls eReaders into the mainstream. That was pretty much what happened with online services; TV and other non-PC ad channels weren't used until the late 1980s.
--Mike

Marie Halkjaer

Regarding the ereader I think it might be a question of availability. For publishers located in Europe, getting your hands on an ereader is not the simplest thing in the world. Personally I would prefer a Kindle, but not everybody seems to be able to make the proposed workarounds work (http://kindleville.blogspot.com/2008/07/kindle-use-outside-united-states.html). So at the moment I’m still hesitant.

The Sony ereader is not so easy to get a hold of either. It is not for sale anywhere in Denmark, where I’m from, and it is not possible to have it shipped from foreign Sony stores. It is of course possible to get hold of one, but you have to be rather persistant and fairly web savvy. This might be a barrier, which many publishers are waiting to be brought down.

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