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The Paper Book Sustainability Question

At The Carousel

Image by SewPixie via Flickr


I was mulling over PA Melo’s post from yesterday. E-book or P-book? To be or not to be?

I do agree with him that paper books will continue to be available, though eventually you’ll have to pay through the nose to get those specialty items. (Oh, right, you already do!)

The conundrum is not just that ebooks are biting into the paper book market. It is that ebooks eventually make p-books impractical on the grand scale they now occupy (i.e. that scale which allows me to wander around bookstores as I love to do.) Part of what makes books affordable is volume. The more you produce, the less you pay per unit.

My question: How much of the industry—what percentage*—has to go electronic before mass production of paperbacks is unsustainable? Please let me know what you think.

*I have heard predictions as low as 35% and as high as 50% Either way, we’re well on our way to being bookstoreless. I’ll have to go back to hanging out in bars (okay) or coffeehouses that aren’t part of bookstores. Horrors!

Filed under: ebooks, publishing, , ,

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