What falling e-book sales tell us about technology in 2017

The e-book is no longer forcing print books out of existence – what does this mean?

E-books are a symbol of the transition into the technological age, and when devices like the Kindle and Nook exploded onto the scene, it seemed books were going to disappear. For a while, it seemed certain that technology was going to oust physical text, but along the way, something changed.

According to Nielsen, e-book sales fell 16% in 2016 compared to the year previously. In young adult fiction alone, e-book sales dropped by more than 25%. That may seem insignificant for one year, but a trend is developing. The drastic decline in e-books sales has significant implications for technology and how consumers are approaching it.

E-books seemed like a tech goldmine, but entrepreneurs can learn so much from the rise and fall of electronic print. With an ever-changing platform, technology can be a difficult medium to work in. Examining how people’s interest in e-books changed, tech entrepreneurs can build products and devices with the revolving door in mind.

So, what does this imply? Here a few things that we can learn about technology from the drop in e-book sales.

There’s no predicting

The most important thing to be taken from e-books falling in sales: there is no sure-fire method to predicting how successful a new technology will be, especially according to popularity. When e-books first rose to popularity, economists were quick to claim that print books would soon be extinct. But by 2010, people once again began praising print books and noting that they would outlive e-books. While the latter is not yet true, print books remain a constant in this technological age.

There are a few reasons e-books have become less popular: notably cost and digital exhaustion. E-book prices continue to rise, but the overall disdain for electronic reading is more justified due to the overwhelming presence technology now has in our lives. Not only do people prefer…

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