According to geekwire in this article “the number of paper books sold went up 2.4% last year (2014), including at Amazon and all types of bookstores”. 2.4% doesn’t seem like a lot but for an industry that has been plunging down a cliff for some time, it is quite considerable.
I can remember ranting on this blog about how the book publishing industry, especially the Australian one, deserved to die because of its shortsightedness on e-books. I still pretty much agree with everything I’ve said there especially where an e-book is released months later than the US and costs twice as much: a completely justifiable reason for pirating it as far as I am concerned.
So why have I bought 6 hard-covered books in the last 2 months when the last time I bought a paper book, never mind hardcover, was probably over ten years ago?
There are a couple reasons, one being that I’ve been moving myself out of active/connected media for some time now. But the primary one as every salesperson know is the winning combination of quality and cost. The Book Grocer has a shop just around the corner from where I work and it has a winning business model: every book costs $10. Price checking them on the internet and I find the kindle editions to be usually MORE expensive. Also, there’s the Readings bargain table which has a similar price point and is now on my tram line since my move.
From an industry perspective, this is possibly one of its death rattles that such a pricing situation can emerge. I can’t see it being sustainable for that long but I fully intend to take advantage of it while it happens and in the meantime, I am more than happy to support an Australian company like the Book Grocer.
Anyway, for those interested in the quality of hardcover books now available, here’s a few that I’ve managed to easily find:
Calcutta: Two years in the city by Amit Chaudhuri. (the kindle edition is $4 cheaper than the hardcover Readings)
Heaven on Earth: A Journey Through Shari’a Law from the Deserts of Ancient Arabia to the Streets of the Modern Muslim World by Sadakat Kardri. ($10 hardcover from the Book Grocer)
Sex And The Citadel by Shereen El Feki ($10 hardcover from the Book Grocer) – a great look at current issues around sex from women’s perspective in Egypt
On Saudi Arabia: Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines–and Future by Karen Elliott House ($10 hardcover from the Book Grocer)
This is not to say I’ve stopped reading on the Kindle either mind. I’m slowly making my way through the meandering masterpiece of a memoir set in Istanbul by Orhan Pamuk. The Kindle edition is only $8 but the illustrations and incredible photos makes me wish I had bought it on paper, in hardback.