The rise of E-books

With the growing network of internet and booming sales of smart phones and tablets (even phablets have been introduced now), I was expecting the book-selling industry to be hampered. And to a certain extent my logical approach I was right. One could easily find books on websites on a much reduced price. On one hand, sites like Amazon, Flipkart and Ebay have grabbed this opportunity really well by selling heaps of books at sub market prices. On the other hand, low prices of books have made them within the purchasing power of many. With time the market seemed to have reached equilibrium.

Avid book readers are happier because having a personal book collection is no more an expensive hobby. With almost 50% of the books well within the reach of middle class, the scenario has clearly changed in past one decade.

e books

Where previously only noted well off historians or economists or lecturers could afford to have a vast collection of books, now every teenager has that luxury. A clear advantage is that knowledge available at a cheap price to anyone who wants it.

In addition, this has majorly boosted the confidence of young authors. Where the size of every fast selling novel ranges from 75-400 pages, it has become an achievable target for most aspiring authors. In fact, past few Indian best-sellers have no tough vocabulary that one has to sit with a dictionary. This is totally in contrast to the taste of people from a century ago, where only the literary works of Shakespeare or Emily Bronte were much appreciated.

Any English language major would be able to justify how the markets of books have changed since 1930s. Fewer people read complicated and original versions of accomplished writers such as Emily Bronte or Tennyson. Thanks to the adaptation and re-writing, even children books like Gulliver’s Travel have become easier to comprehend.

So, are the readers of today generation pleased and charmed by just a normal book in English? Of course not! Poems of Robert Frost are still a benchmark for judging talent. And maybe that’s all they have become, a benchmark. But yes to a certain extent, an easy to comprehend language is more appealing to the masses, where the classes still prefer quality work only.

e book

Over the years people have tried to ape the style of writing of successful writers, but that happens no more. We have our own Agatha Christies, Sherlock Holmes and Rabindranath Tagores in the making.

But do these generation-X writers reach the fame of honorary writers? Yes indeed. The successes of J.K.Rowling, Stephanie Meyer and author of 50 shades (who was it???) are clear indications that one has to be good at what they write, be it any genre, and have to either adapt with the generation or think ahead of it.

So not only has reduced price of books benefited the readers, it has given a moral boost to writers, since the risk involved is much lesser. Many write their books or novels as a part-time and as a hobby rather than indulging in it full-time, at least not until they have received an initial kick of success.

People are more willing to launch books in various languages because they know that they can reach out to various locations. Interest in regional and other internationally used languages is boosted when there are a good variety of latest books. Even the production houses are more willing to take bets. I have read some horrible and amateur love stories with a vague story line hidden behind the hoo-ha of fiction. At such times I really appreciate the books by Steve Jobs or Mark Twain, at least they are worth the money I spent on them.

In my opinion, it is not just the low risk or charm of instant success which drives so many people to become authors or poets; it is the need to be heard. With our society being much open and receptive to all sorts of bizarre ideas (school of magic or vampires living within our community), it has become easier for the authors to reflect what they think in their writings.

reading e book

Obviously there is no comparison to the classics. They are a class apart. But how many authors made it to that league of successful authors in those times? And how many successful authors are there today? So much difference, isn’t it? Indeed classic authors are still a class apart today. Nobody can compare with the libraries of classes and masses Salman Rushdie has breached. But such authors are few. There are more of mass writers than class writers today. Don’t you feel? 

This is not true in the case of the superheroes though. Since they arrived in comic books and finally made their way into movies, they have been a hit, pleasing the masses and the classes. So it is obvious, creativity is required to sell your product; originality not so much.

So, has the technology helped the business of book selling indeed? For people who don’t want to carry books around when travelling or ones who feel books create a crowd in the reading room, it is the best thing that could ever happen. Of course, the people who like the touch and smell and vision of books continue to buy books.

But there is another class of world citizens rising to become readers. Ones who were interested in culture of other countries but could not afford to travel or pay for international shipping of books – they now have e books at their service. The ones who secretly read fiction and love stories while pretend that such books are a waste (peer pressure) can now easily hide, thanks to e books. The ones who were interested in reading books written in previous century but are allergic to old yellow pages can now read away to glory on their tablets/smart phones.

click away

Such is the era we are living in, anything and everything we want to read is a click away. Be it buying a hard copy from a site online, or bidding on an original version of a novel by an author, or just a pdf or doc version of a book, it is all possible.

Knowledge increases with sharing. Thankfully sharing is cheap or free now a days.


58 thoughts on “The rise of E-books

  1. really excellent…but I dislike, cause I’m a native book lover…pad, smartphone, ultrabook, DSLR lover…but no E-books…
    love your writing…
    kindly regards….:-))

  2. I thought I would dislike e books but wow was I wrong. All those lovely wonderful classic books for free. I can carry ‘Anna Karenina’, ‘Jude the Obscure’, the entire collected works of Dickens and Poe and it weighs only ounces. I love it and your writing.

  3. I have to say that I love iphone & computer for it’s so convenient for everything! Thank you Steve Jobs and Billgate. But with ebook, I am afraid that I still like the traditional way of holding a book and flip it page by page. I don’t like to staring at the screen all the time since I already at the computer and phone most of the day. So reading book with a paper book give me a sense of feeling that we still have something tradition to hold on to. I am afraid in the future, our future may turn into the novel written by Ray Bradbury “Fahrenheit 451”. Scared :S

  4. I hope books don’t vanish. I took up writing after retiring. I’m slow getting all the stories in my head onto paper. I don’t mind that they’re e-book as well. I have always loved reading. It was a way to learn, as well as transport me to places I’ll never get a chance to see in real life.

  5. Simplification and cost reduction of media has historically always been a good thing – starting with Gutenberg. People’s inability to adapt and embrace this is a limitation of the human mind and says nothing about the greatness of such evolution of communication. And with that, humanity evolves a little further.

    PS: I predict that your blog post will be picked up by high school students and submitted as essays!!! Just the sort of subject they have to write about.

    • Glad to have your perspective. Although I ain’t sure you are insulting my choice of topics to post or just laughing at my ability to provide so easily for some high school kids. Maybe it is my writing style which reminded you of high school essays? Not sure.
      Maybe next time you could write a post-script more to the point!

      • On the contrary, I think it is an outstanding piece on a highly topical subject that concerns us all. I think it is so well written that people might re-use it to make their point. I thought of high school kids, not because it is simple but because these days they write essays by copying 100% from the internet. I sincerely apologize for giving the wrong impression and promise to be more careful.

  6. There are more mass writers than class writers.Agreed.But I think it’s a good thing in a way.why?because now all kinds of readers have options.If anything,it’s only going to encourage more people to discover the joy of reading.

    A very well written article.I like your style of writing.So crisp.

  7. I like the books. Carrying a computer around with me everywhere just isn’t on the agenda. To me it would be like walking around with your tv. Books are better and the market is probably just flooded. Almost as if there is not a movie done of it, it is no good.

      • It is another screen. Just a thinner one. I would take it as a insult, something is wrong at the very least with my company if my man left the house with the screen too all the time. The tv at home was bad enough.

  8. I bought a netbook a few years back just so I could house my various e-books in various formats…I call my little pink netbook: library…that doesn’t mean I threw away my paper books, and never will…it’s just a whole lot to carry around a net book rather than a few hundred books….thanks for the lovely post.

  9. I love my kindle app for iPad I love the ten seconds it takes to down load a book, the prices are great, convenient travel and above all the control on the lighting font size I can read without my glasses what a treat! I am the poster child for e-book media I started with the Sony e- read the minute it came out love them!

  10. even I prefer actual books in hand..I tire my eyes on laptop and phone so much that it is a relief to read a book in its natural form..
    – This is my position too, Sakshi. Sometimes, I may seem hurting. Actually I never intend to hurt anyone. right?

  11. Though I am using the kindle for android for quite some time but its format is difficult for reference or research books. Let’s hope it works better in future. But I agree with your point even though very few people, in India have taken to this new medium.

  12. I don’t know. I like the feel of a real book in hands. Internet make writing easy and you able to expand to many people. I have access to 20,000 people on four sites. I make no profit. Many Poet’s and writer’s I know tried to make money and cannot survive without a job. Internet is a blessing and a downfall. Thank you for your thoughts. Made me think this late evening.

  13. Thank you for visiting my blog and leading me to your post! I am one of those people that still love and buy books, but I have just bought a Kindle Paperwhite. Its just so handy for reading those big heavy books in bed and carrying them around in my bag, but it will never replace my library.

  14. I don’t think I’ll ever want to give up the feel of a book in my hand when I’m reading, but as I grow older and have some aches and pains and less strength in my hands, the E book becomes more interesting to me, and I would love to afford a reader. One thing is that I read very quickly, so it would allow me to have a number of books with me on a trip without the extra weight.

    One thing I would like to see though is for E readers to become more prevalent for students. My poor granddaughter must have to carry 100 pounds of books in her back pack daily, and I do not believe that is good for her back and shoulders. Hmmm, perhaps I need to start a crusade to accomplish this.

  15. This was an informative article that gave me a little more perspective. I’m biased towards cuddling up with a nice paperback, but I guess you can’t hate the easy access of literature.

    Thanks for stopping by and this was a good read 🙂

    • Cuddling with books- I do that too!
      This came just when I though I was the only one with piles of books on my bed which I sleep with.

      Thank you for dropping by. It really added a little bliss to my monotonous life.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s