Point of consideration: people’s preferences.
The debate over whether people prefer real book/ebook/audiobook has supporters on all sides.
Something I can tell you from the music world is that some people still buy CDs & records even if they listen to music on YouTube/Spotify/iTunes. They may never listen to that CD or record, but they still buy them.
What people prefer to use and what they will actually buy is not necessarily the same thing.
I certainly have spent £100s on books I have not read, and books I have not finished. I like to have them, because I love a real book in my hands as much as the next person. I use audiobooks for business related things because I simply do not have the time/privacy to read and digest work related materials during my working hours. The lengths I would have to go to, to get that time would cost the business money in lost contact hours with clients.
When I do get the opportunity to read a book, I’m usually on holiday and prefer fiction.
When reading fiction for recreation, I love a real book, which often has been recommended/lent/given to me by a friend, so I’ve got it for free anyway. If I like it, and I finish it before the end of my holiday, I have then bought ebooks of the same author. I much prefer to read in this instance, and haven’t listened to fiction audiobooks or story tapes since Plop, The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark. (I did listen to that until I wore it out though).
I’m not saying my specific quirks are representative of the masses, but having quirks/habits/different uses for different things is becoming more commonplace.
It’s an interesting point that has only recently come to my attention;
– what people prefer,
– what they will use,
– and what they will purchase
do overlap, but not the same thing.
For me, this begs the question: what is more important?
What they will use? Or what they will buy?
Ie: What gets the message to people? What makes money?
As creators, I think the honest answer is both. We need to make money and we need to get our message to people. Ultimately, having all 3 products (paperback/digital/audiobook) all interact and serve both purposes.
My tuppence …