A recent article from The Bookseller has stated that despite fiction books seeing a rise digitally, print format is still preferred with non-fiction titles. They have said that 65 million e-books were sold in 2012 on top 50 titles alone.
Personally, I believe that people are more likely to download fiction books as opposed to non-fiction books. Fiction books are more for entertainment value (unless you are an English student, for example) and I believe that the market for any kind of e-reading device is aimed more towards an entertainment point of view. It could be argued that Apple, in particular, has marketed its iPad in a way suggesting it can be used for research and business opportunities, but I don’t feel any other brand has taken this stance.
When studying, I prefer to use a print copy as opposed to a digital copy. It’s easier to highlight parts of text which are relevant, place a tab on the edge of the page, and is more comfortable on the eyes (especially if you are already using a computer to type an essay etc.) Not only that, but there is still a risk with digital content. There have been reports of people’s e-books being unexpectedly removed from their devices, highlighting the debate surrounding whether e-books are owned or borrowed. What happens if something goes wrong with the Amazon Store? What would happen to everyone’s e-books? At least with print, it is there and isn’t going to go anywhere unless you physically lose it.
I think the hype for digital fiction books is only going to continue to grow. Despite the kinks in the armor, ebooks are popular due to their elusiveness and easy-to-carry appeal. Whilst non-fiction products are still favoured in a print format, the transition from print to digital is getting there as databases such as JSTOR offer electronic journals, as well as, academic libraries offering many more of their non-fiction titles in e-book format.
Whichever way you look at it, both print and digital formats have flaws, however despite the popularity with the ebook, I don’t think print is going to get left behind too soon.