Waterstone's Founder Says Ebook Revolution is Over

Posted on April 2, 2014

Waterstone's founder Tim Waterstone says that the ebook revolution is over. The Guardian reports that Waterstone, who founded the British bookstore chain in 1982, gave an impassioned speech about the future of books at Oxford Literary Festival.

Waterstone told the panel and audience that the printed word is alive and well. Waterstone said that he has read and heard about "more garbage about the strength of the e-book revolution than anything else I've known." He argues that the British people's love of printed books will never wane and that ebook sales will eventually decline. He predicted that printed books would always be around.

He told the crowd, "The e-books have developed a share of the market, of course they have, but every indication - certainly from America - shows the share is already in decline. The indications are that it will do exactly the same in the UK." He was referring to a report by the Association of American Publishers which showed that as of November, 2013, hardcover book sales were up by 11.5%, where as ebook sales were up by 4.8% over the prior year.

Lovers of printed books will be heartened by Waterstone's words. We agree that printed books will be around for years to come, but one cannot ignore the sea change in reading behavior that has accompanied the release of ereaders and tablets such as the Kindle, the Nook and the iPad.

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