With the print industry in a state of decline due to digital alternatives, the future of the book is a key question in the publishing world.
It’s clear that e-readers like Kindle and iPad are desperately trying to convince their readers that they are reading a real book that can be purchased and displayed on your bookshelf despite the fact that digital publications can offer more than the words on the page (or should I say screen!). Amazon claim that on their latest e-reader, “the pages are virtually indistinguishable from a physical book.” And the value of ‘the page turn effect’ was highlighted last month when Apple were awarded a patent for the feature. Book covers are still commissioned and sometimes specially designed for E-books despite the fact that they no longer hold their previous influence over the customer in search of their latest read.
In a similar fashion to books, Vinyl is not as digitally advanced, (nor does it offer bonus features like music video) as digital downloads are, but it continues to be created and coveted by people who love music and the physicality that Vinyl offers. Maybe the same thing is happening to printed books and magazines? There is an increasing amount of beautifully created books and magazines that I believe will always peak the interests of those that love them. Craft and individuality has become a more prominent feature of the internet with websites like etsy.com and notonthehighstreet.com promoting limited edition and hand crafted products over mass produced high street items. Statistics on infographicjournal.com state that at the beginning of 2013 hardcover book sales were up by 10%, this shows the continuing interest in beautifully produced books.
A recent article in New York Magazine shows that “The idea of starting a (non-digital) magazine in this day and age seems downright insane. And yet, for those keeping score at the newsstand, dozens upon dozens of them have sprung up in the past few years.” Magazines about niche topics, beautifully designed with a strong following of readers continue to be published and continue to be successful. The same can be said for books, a recent post on buzzfeed.com: ‘awesomely designed books from 2013 that prove print isn’t dead‘ was a great overview of the beautiful books that are still being produced and admired. More and more books are offering something special like, letters, fold out sections and maps which make the reading experience more interactive. Although digital publications can offer us superior multi-media excitement they cannot offer the physical attributes that make books and magazines covetable and collectable. Reports show that E-books have not cracked 25% of the market and growth has dropped, it appears that print and digital may be able to coexist, each offering a different and equally valuable experience.