IFLA Library Advocacy and Literacy Blog: “eBooks are often portrayed as being in conflict with physical books – the modern versus the traditional, function versus experience, and (more or less openly) Amazon versus bookstores and established publishers. Sales figures are regularly analysed for the relative trends. Partisans of physical books cite numbers from the big publishers, which tend to show increased sales of hardcopies making up for a fall in eBook sales Amazon’s tax practices, and recent stories about fake eBooks on the site potentially being used for money laundering have provided further ammunition for those who seek to paint eBooks as a ‘bad thing’. Others point out that once independent eBook publishing (much of which runs through Amazon) is included, the eBook market looks a lot healthier (see also this Quartz piece). A recent study (paywalled) from the University of Arizona, based on focus group studies, provides interesting insights looks at user experiences and attitudes towards eBooks, aiming to establish at the micro level (rather than the macro, whole-of-market level) what may underpin consumers’ behaviour…”
A key finding from the article concerns the difference in people’s feelings about owning digital and physical books, or rather that there is a much stronger sense of ownership of physical objects. It underlines that reading an eBook feels more like ‘renting’ than buying, more like a service than a good.