The medium is the message coming loud and clear from the music industry’s year-over-year numbers: customers will pay for quick access or premium quality. Sales of downloads and vinyl propelled overall sales in the US to a 10% increase over 2007.
CD sales continue to plummet. By offering neither the convenience of the new (downloads) or the quality of the old (records), CDs are a technology that has been outplayed. While I’m not worried about this happening to books fullstop, it does tend to support the possibility outlined in the BNC Research report Click to Continue: Modeling the Impact of eBooks on the Canadian Book Industry that mass market editions could be hurt by digitization.
If hard copies aren’t providing a quality incentive (like most trade paper and hard cover editions), could they be outsold by the convenience factor of digital downloading?