I have a continuing curiosity about how people read books, make choices when in a book store, and discover new authors. The one question I often ask people when the topic of books comes up is whether they sniff a book, and if the scent of the print is a factor in buying or reading it. Readers might be surprised how many think the scent of a book is important.
This morning I ran across a CNN article on John Grisham concerning his latest book “The Litigators”. I should state at the start that no one asked Grisham if he likes a book to smell good, but the topic of reading a Kindle was addressed, and that is enough of a reason to post his comments on CP. (I love Grisham’s work, but rather detest eBooks.)
CNN: As an author who has sold millions of books, what do you think about the emergence of eBooks? Have you tried using an eReader?
Grisham: Amazon sent me a Kindle two years ago as a gift. I read a couple of books on it. It was an enjoyable experience. There are so many advantages to doing it, but then I sort of gravitated back to the old hardback. I love to collect books.
My wife and I are big readers and we have thousands of books stacked up all over the house. That’s just what we enjoy doing.
The emergence of eBooks is phenomenal. A year ago, my last book, “The Confession” was published. It was the first time we released the digital version of the book the same day as the hardback. After one year, my total sales are 40% digital and 60% hardback and the numbers have gone up. That’s obviously good news for me because more people are reading the books.
The question is — and no one can answer it — is where are we going to be in five years? Five years ago no one saw this coming. Maybe Jeff Bezos at Amazon did, because that guy can see around corners. I think he’s the smartest guy in publishing today, but it’s changing all the time and no one really knows where it’s going.
It’s not all bad, there’s a new generation of young people in publishing and they understand the technology, they understand social media and they are very excited about the future. They think there will be more and more outlets to find new readers to market the books. It’s changing awfully fast, but I can’t worry about it. All I can do is go and write the next book.