What’s With the Big eBook Fear?


There seems to be this big fear that eBooks are going to kill the printed book.  People act like the invention of eBook means death to books in general.  Let’s say the printed book no longer exists.  What does that mean? 

Will people stop reading?  No.
Will people stop writing?  No.
Will book stores no longer exist? No, they’ll decrease in numbers but not die off.
Will libraries no longer exist? No.  By then they will have figured out an eBook borrowing system.  Where you bring your eBook device in and virtually download your copy for two weeks.  Think of the brilliance in that!  No more waiting for someone to return the physical book.  Instant download, baby! They are probably doing that somewhere already.

During a #litchat on Twitter (a few weeks back) someone made this comment:

Won't e-books will be as disruptive to the print business as electricity was to the candle business? To (sort of) coin a phrase. 

I think the analogy is very “apples to apples.” Where once the candle was the standard for light, electricity slowly replaced it.  Are candles obsolete?  No, they are found at most stores and still have their purpose in our world.  Will they have a purpose 20 years from now?  100?  500?  Who knows but the need for light will always be there.  Just like the need for knowledge will always be there.  Books are here to stay, no matter what the form.


Does it mean authors receive less profit on eBooks?  I have no idea.  (But I'll Google it.) It probably makes editing and distribution faster. Though not everyone has an eReader, so your target audience is smaller.  I'm struggling to see the fear here.  




Personally, I love owning the physical book and displaying it on my book shelves like a trophy.  Because honestly, I’m proud of myself.  Proud to be a reader.  Because us readers, we are a rare thing.  When I tell people I read about 50 books a year, they usually reply “I haven’t read five books in my life, much less fifty.”  How sad. 

I was reading on Nathan Branford’s blog how some literary authors refuse to be on Amazon or offer their book in eBook form.  Why would you limit your sales because you particularly don’t like the technology? The notion comes off snobby and ignorant minded if you ask me.

Do I think eBooks will kill he printed book?  Not any time soon. In my opinion, not in my lifetime but maybe my children’s.  There are still people out there that who’ve never emailed! (i.e. My stepfather.)  Hell, there are tribes out there who’ve never seen a white man.  Are we seriously fretting over the death of the printed book? 

What do you think?  What are your eBook fears?