You may not know it, yet we are witnessing the death of ebooks. Now, allow me to clarify. I don’t mean you will never see another ebook written, published or sold. I simply see it as a ruined and short-lived concept that is already showing major signs of no longer being a money making industry for the publisher/distributor and the writer.
REASON 1– The changed definition of devices.
Devices like Kindle, Nook, iPad are no longer referred to or used primarily as ereaders. Now they are called tablets and phablets or they are known solely by their brand name. (Example; Kindle is simply called Kindle now, not Kindle ereader.) Smartphones are now used primarily for texting, emailing, instant messaging and other forms of social networking. This explains why cell phone service providers no longer sell packages of talk minutes. Now it’s all about the data.
This has occurred due, in part, to the fact that these devices now perform so many other functions other than being a tool for digital reading. Owning one of these devices means that you are walking around with a relatively small device which is capable of doing anything most bulky, cumbersome laptops could do just two years ago. (Who would have ever thought society would come to think of laptops as bulky and cumbersome?)
These devices enable the owner to share files, listen to music, play games, check the weather, email, text, twitter, take and send photos, take instant videos and upload them to sites like YouTube and a thousand other things I can’t think of at the moment.
REASON 2– Games
As of the date of this blog, in the aptly named Google Play store, which handles and distributes Android applications, 29 of the top 30 apps are games. Among the top 50 free apps there, 24 are games, 22 are apps for listening to music, messaging and social networking of one sort or another and just 4 would be considered utilities.
In iTunes, the Apple version of the Google Play store, 9 of the top 30 apps are games, 2 are utilities and the remaining 19 have something to do with entertainment such as movies and music or some form of social networking, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
People are consumed and yes, even addicted to games like Candy Crush, Clash of Clans, Bingo and online gambling. Every potential spare moment is now used to whip out a smartphone or tablet and start playing, whether waiting for an order at a restaurant, sitting at the DMV or even going on a date where, apparently, the game has more of your interest than your date. This explains why everywhere you look, a smartphone or tablet has become an appendage to the human hand.
Only a year ago, the top apps on smartphones and tablets were things like CNN, The Weather Channel, Kindle Ereader, Google Maps, Google Earth, iBooks and Epicurious. This is, sadly, no longer the case. The vast majority of people no longer use these devices for intelligent pursuits. Today, it’s all about the need for instantaneous accessibility and entertainment.
REASON 3– The proliferation of junk.
Leave it to humans to screw up a good thing. Writing is a lot like American Idol. The vast majority of people who think they sing well enough ‘to be the next American Idol’ couldn’t sing their way out of the shower. The same goes for would-be authors. Everyone thinks they have a story to tell. Two questions; should the story be told as entertainment for the masses? Can you write well enough to tell the story in a manner that appeals to the masses? The answers are usually ‘NO’ and ‘Hell No!’
It didn’t take long for people to figure out how easy it had become, by 2009, to be a ‘published writer’. As the industry grew and the proliferation of ereaders came to market, more and more people climbed on the haywagon. It took a couple of years, yet anyone with a semi-functional brain could see the junk becoming a rapidly growing issue. Anything from horrendous writing and sentence structure to worse than amateurish cover artwork began to infiltrate the industry. (None of the industry publishers/distributors could or would put a “stupid” filter in place for those alleged writers who could not even figure out how to use ‘spell check’ in their document editor.)
The number one complaint of people who continue to buy and read ebooks is the lack of quality out there. The market has become infested with would-be writers who don’t bother to have a qualified editor go through their work. (Personally, I am profoundly grateful for mine.) Many of these so-called writers also don’t bother to either learn how to, or hire someone to do the graphic artistry for their covers. They get a friend of a friend who used to draw stick people or a retired architect to do the work.
The result of all of this today is the slow and painful death of ebooks. Readers, that is, the people who enjoy reading, are still plentiful. I am thankful that there are many people who want to hold a book in their hands or listen to an audio book. I am grateful that not everyone who walks the planet wants to bang into light poles and stumble into fountains while playing Candy Crush.
Ethan Holmes is the author of six books. All are available in ebook format for all ereader/tablet/phablet/smartphones. Three of them, Water, Earth’s Blood and Live Your Life in a Crap Free Zone, are available at Amazon in paperback format.
What do you think of the current ebook market?