Libraries may have met their match. Everywhere you go, it seems e-books have been taking over. Even the biggest book retailers in America, Amazon and Barnes and Noble, are investing resources in competing e-book readers and stores. Apple has their own e-book store for their own devices, as well. It’s becoming a saturated and highly competitive market. One thing is for certain, though: e-books are here to stay. The only question is how they’re going to be distributed in the future. This is a business model people aren’t accustomed to dealing with, much like digital music. The inherent manufacturing costs in producing books disappear, just like with CDs and music. The value of the purchase is reduced to the content alone.
You might be surprised where you can find e-books these days. All over the Internet, people are selling information products based on e-books. Now this business model has migrated to regular books you would normally find in a hard back book store. More and more people are getting into them, and there looks to be a time in the future when we might have to worry about what’s going to happen to our libraries and physical bookstores. You can’t go on Canada 411 and look for an e-bookstore today, but maybe at some point in the future that will be the way books are bought or checked out.
The debate the book publishers and e-bookstores are dealing with are figuring out how to price e-books. Since you don’t have to pay for the production of physical product, it all comes down to valuing the content alone. The interesting thing is that for years, informational e-books produced by individuals have been largely priced on the physical book model, and many have done quite well. Only time will tell how things will turn out, but things in the book world have likely changed forever.