Well, this is turning into a bad habit! Just like my last post, this post is all about someone else's recent blog post. In this case, it's one by Nathan Bransford, formerly a literary agent, now a children's book author. The post is titled “Will Books Lose Out in a Tablet World?” and the reason I'm posting about it is because it points out succinctly that ebooks are not the enemy of books or publishers. Whether a book is physical or digital, someone has to write it, and lots of people can read it. People who buy and read ebooks are every bit as much readers and book lovers as people who buy and read print books.
But, as Nathan says, people who read on tablets (as opposed to e-ink ereaders like the Kindle, Nook, or Kobo) do have other entertainment options quite literally in their hands. They can browse the web, check email, play games, and watch movies. This multipurpose functionality is the primary reason tablets are growing in popularity. It remains to be seen whether this danger will in fact hurt books and authors, but it's definitely as issue.
Nathan points a finger at high ebook prices as part of the problem, and I think he's right. Publishers need to look long term and stop worrying about protecting hardcover sales by pricing ebooks so high that no one will buy them; they could win the battle and lose the war, which would be a sad thing for readers.