E-books boomed after the first e-reader was introduced to the market in 1998. In 2011, Amazon reported that digital book sales were exceeding hardcover books. Despite the convenience of e-readers, such as for travel, digital books are starting to lose their momentum because of the switch from an e-reader to a tablet. Recent reports show that the e-book market has declined.
The Association of American Publishers reports that this year’s first quarter saw only a five percent increase in e-book sales when compared to previous quarters. TechCrunch notes that because tablets do everything else so well, readers have the tendency to stop reading to check Twitter, Facebook, and e-mail. Tablets distract readers because they offer other desirable things to do.
The question rises, how much of a distraction are tablets to e-readers? How will this influence the future of e-books? Carr author of The Shallows notes that people exercise neural circuits devoted to skimming and multitasking while ignoring those used for reading and thinking deeply. People are favoring tablets for shallow tasks rather than for reading e-books. The tablet is becoming a tool for reading short spates of text because e-mail, social networks, or hyperlinked articles are a click away.
Unless dedicated readers find a new appreciation for e-books, the boom may soon end, at least for tablet owners.