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Hardcover versus Paperback versus Audio Book versus eBook


There are some who say that audio books and eBooks will eventually replace hardcover and paperback books. It is true that in 2011, eBooks outsold, for the first time, all other formats in the categories of adult fiction and children’s/young adult titles according to the Association of American Publishers. Audio books have gained momentum as well. But in 2013, the sale of eBooks had a lower increase than expected. Paper books still outsold eBooks in all categories combined (557 million hardcovers versus 457 eBooks). People who love to read seem to want to have all book mediums available to them.

Aside from the numbers, book publishers won’t be forgoing hardcover books any time soon. They know that seeing a new book with eye-catching art work in a brick and mortar store is still a viable way to get the consumer’s attention.

Regarding paperback books, their role has changed from the publisher’s perspective. They used to be targeted toward consumers looking for a cheaper alternative to the hardcover book. Today however, the cheaper alternative is the eBook. So now the paperback is used to re-launch a book with a new cover in order take another shot at grabbing the consumer’s attention.

From the consumer’s perspective, there are different reasons from the book publishers as to why printed books are here to stay, at least for now. Sure eBooks on your favorite mobile device are the most convenient when traveling for obvious reasons. And procuring new books downloaded to your device is a snap. Audio books are the easiest for people doing a lot of driving or for people multi-tasking during an exercise workout. But there is just something about having a book you can hold, flip through the pages and admire on a book shelf; a reminder to the journey that it took you on. Collectible books, too, will always have an appeal. That dusty leather-bound vintage book has a certain smell, a certain wonder of the places it has been, the hands that have held it.

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