This debate has gone on for more than a decade now. There are avid readers who are on the either side of the divide. eReader was launched as preferred eco friendly option for the readers. Kindle, as a pure eReading device and iPad as an electronic gadget which could also double up as a reading device, were lapped up by enthusiasts early on. Obituaries were written about the Hard Bound books. But despite what an eReader offers, the sales have not grown as rapidly as one would have thought about 6-7 years back.
The millennials who have the eager eye for all things related to tech, have not completely shunned the hard bounds. Rather, they are the ones who are keeping the hard bound industry alive and kicking. eReaders have virtually larger initial carbon footprint than a hard bound. This evens out as the number of standard sized books reach a figure of 33. Thereafter, its the eReader all the way, who has much lesser carbon footprint.
Today the sales of hard bound is still much higher than their online versions. Publishers of books in all formats made almost $26 billion in revenue last year in the U.S., with print making up $22.6 billion and e-books taking $2.04 billion, according to the Association of American Publishers’ annual report 2019. Those figures include trade and educational books, as well as fiction. This is a startling observation, especially for those who had written obituaries of hard bounds much earlier.
What draws an old timer or a young to the hard bound is the feel, sight and scent of the book. The joy of holding a book in the hand can’t be compared with anything which is not properly visible. The cover of hard bound gives away the clues about the reader’s personality, likings etc. eReader can claim to be having lesser carbon footprint comparatively but that fact remains that hard bound books are more popular, still. The convenience of stuffing a large number of books in an eReader is unparalleled which a die hard loyalist of the hard bound will vouch for.
There will always be a space for hard bound. These can’t be just wished away.