The rise of e-books was one of the notable digital trends of 2012.

A report by The Publishers Association suggested that sales rose by 188 per cent in the first six months of the year. This might come as a surprise to those who have never tried one, but there are plenty of reasons as to why this trend has occurred.

Convenience

The original rise in popularity of e-books was largely down to convenience. As the internet became faster and more accessible, society began to expect everything at their fingertips immediately. Scholars and students would prefer to launch their laptop than make a trip to the library. It’s certainly easier to search for a certain e-book from the comfort of your own home than it is on the library shelves.

The mobile web

Mobile web-connected devices made accessing e-books even easier. Sales of the Amazon Kindle, a device created specifically to read e-books on, have reached seven figures. Thousands of e-books have been sold on the Apple and Android stores too. The ability to carry thousands of digital books on the go has been a real hit amongst bookworms all over the world.

Self-publishing

Many promising authors have become accustomed to the idea of self-publishing e-books. Self-publishing allows unknown authors to get their work to the masses. A lucky few can get worldwide success this way, (‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ started off self-published) whilst others are able to target a niche audience with relative ease.

Self-published e-books typically cost less than your average book shop purchase and can look just as good on the screen of your tablet or e-reader. It can be a win-win for both author and reader.

What is the future for e-books?

The growth in e-book sales has been so phenomenal that some analysts have already sounded the death knell for traditional paper books. Others have said that’s ridiculous and that nothing will ever replace the experience of a reading a paperback novel. Of course, the same thing has been said about CDs though…

There certainly appears to be scope for sales of e-books to increase. Amazon claims to have enjoyed a record day for sales for Kindles on ‘Cyber Monday’ in 2012. These sales are more than enough evidence to prove that mobile e-books are not a passing trend. They’re here to stay. You can be sure that plenty of authors will be keen to try and replicate the success of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ as well.

Whether printed books become outdated as quickly as CDs is another argument altogether. There is certainly a sizeable market who prefer to read off of paper instead of a screen. There is perhaps more profit available in this market for established authors too.

A recent study from Pew, which analysed the reading habits of Americans, indicated that 67 per cent of the country still prefers a printed book. That’s down from 72 per cent a year earlier.

The study arguably represents exactly where the e-book industry is at the moment. It’s certainly on the up, but there’s a lot of room to grow.

Louis Sharman is an avid blogger and writes for a plethora of subjects ranging from book reviews to suggesting the importance of e-books in modern culture. He lives in London, UK and enjoys reviewing the most recent books of sports. He is also an amateur photographer and has a great collection of photography books. You can connect him on Google+

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