(MENAFN - Arab News) Readers in Saudi Arabia still prefer their books in the traditional paper format, but bookstore owners fear that the worldwide trend to e-books would soon also take place in the Kingdom.
"I think this new technology can destroy the traditional industry in products such as printed books, newspapers and even notebooks.
Technology has created several choices for consumers
However, most readers still prefer printed books," said Siraj Mohsin, owner of a bookstore in Jeddah
The trend to e-books started with Apple's launch in 2010 of the iPad and its agreements with five of the six largest publishers that would allow it to distribute books electronically.
The iPad includes an application for e-books called iBooks
The iPad, the first commercially profitable tablet computer, was followed in 2011 by the release of the first Android-based tablets including versions of the Nook by Barnes & Noble and the Kindle by Amazon.
Unlike previous dedicated e-readers, tablet computers are multi-functional allowing for the installation of other e-book vendors
The growth in general-purpose tablet computer use as increased the popularity of e-books over the past three years, according to Wikipedia.
In July 2010, online bookseller Amazon reported that sales of e-books for its proprietary Kindle outnumbered sales of hardcover books for the first time, saying it sold 140 e-books for every 100 hardcover books, including hardcovers for which there were no digital editions
By January 2011, e-book sales at Amazon had surpassed its paperback sales.
In the overall US market, paperback book sales are still much larger than either hardcover or e-books
The American Publishing Association estimated that e-books represented 8.5 percent of sales as of mid-2010, up from 3 percent a year before.
Many readers still want to read traditional paper books. However, some also think the fate of traditional books will be the same as cassettes when CDs arrived.
Many traditionalists want to hold, touch, and even smell their books, which cannot be done with e-books. There is also the cost involved in buying expensive tablets, computers and smartphones, and the hassle of getting accounts and making purchases with the major e-book publishers using a credit card.