Ant Pruitt: E-book Versus Traditional Book? Reader Poll

E-Books versus traditional books? Our Ant Pruitt polls the community.

The e-book phenomenon continues to grow each year. Such new reading devices as Barnes & Noble’s Nook and Amazon’s Kindle have given readers a new way to enjoy the books they own — unbeatable portability minus the weight.

The traditional book market is still strong, but how does it stack up against the e-book market? Here’s my take.

Image credit: Ant Pruitt for

Amazon made its name as a popular merchant for buying books online at a deep discount. Today Amazon feels the results of the e-book’s growing popularity. In its UK market, Amazon reports 114 e-books are downloaded for every 100 hardback books sold. Conversely, Barnes and Noble continues to remain steady in its brick and mortar retail business, granted the decline of competitor Borders Group is to its advantage.

The battle between the e-book and the traditional book is definitely an interesting one and just beginning.

There’s the issue of royalties paid to authors. I don’t claim that all authors are writing solely to make money, but the rate at which royalties come in from e-books may convince an author to drop his publisher and self publish to Kindle or other eReaders. On Leo Laporte’s TWiT episode 282  last year our own Dr. Jerry Pournelle talked about his daughter’s experience with the Amazon Kindle store. She sold approximately 1,000 copies of her book “Outies” within weeks of its release and received seventy percent royalties.

Image credit: This Week in Tech

I admit I’m not a leisure reader. My closest peers know that. I am a rabid audio book subscriber instead.

So I turned to my circle of book readers — my Twitter followers and Google+ followers — to find out what they thought. I asked them if they would drop their traditional books for e-books. The results surprised me.

Forty two percent of those completing the poll answered: No. And I wasn’t expecting it.  I thought the pendulum would either swing strongly to the side of no, or strongly to the side of 50/50. I included a 50/50 option  in the poll because my followers are mostly technology and gadget fans. I felt safe in guessing my followers owned some type of device that let them read books digitally for leisure.

Based on the poll, sure they own these devices, but they’d much rather break the spine of a traditional book.

“I don’t do much leisure reading, but there is something nice about flipping through a physical book. I totally get and dig the advantages of e-books and the idea is really cool. Maybe I, like many others, are just stuck in old ways, ” says reader Cody Kellogg.

“There are certain books that, namely books by certain authors, that I will still buy a physical copy of, mainly because I do not fully trust the sustainability of the digital media model,” adds reader Greg Hollingsworth.

Greg told me he also likes the historical value in traditional books, “I love books, and take good care of them, my kids will have a small library, and that … is the greatest material gift I think I could possibly leave them.”

I recently got a tablet and decided to try an e-book. Because I wasn’t sure how I would feel about my commitment to reading books for leisure, I only downloaded free books from Amazon and the Google Play Store.

So far, reading books the traditional way still isn’t for me.  I just have slight attention deficit disorder tendencies that are keeping me from reading a book, I guess. I am still giving e-books a go but, right now, audio books are winning.

Will the e-book craze eventually dominate the book market? I also wonder what its ramifications will be for book stores and libraries if this happens. What do you think?

I’m Ant Pruitt and this is

Click here to see all of Ant’s stories.


  • eBooks will gain once tablets are in every home. There is still a place for regular books, but as production costs go up, and technology advances, I see eBooks taking a larger chunk of the pie.

    • Hmm. “tablets in every home.” That’s a thinker in itself. Thanks for reading, and your comment, Robert Knight!

      -RAP, II

  • Tablets in everyhome – will be the icing but I have also seen a large volume of individuals who have downloaded the apps from Amazon, etc… on laptops and desktops and even on their smart phones.

    • Thanks for reading and your comments, Mike. The apps being downloaded from Amazon to laptop, what are they? Books and movies i presume?

      -RAP, II