This has actually not proved to be the case, which is somewhat surprising. A few months ago, I came across a terrific article in the New York Times on the surprising reversal of the trend of eBooks growing at the expense of printed books. Here is the link to the article written by Alexandra Alter:
Alter recalled the changes in the book market less than 10 years ago, citing the 1,260% growth of eBooks between 2008 and 2010. Bookstores suffered, with Borders declaring bankruptcy in 2011.
The Association of American Publishers (AAP) tracks numbers from publishers. Alter reports that AAP found that eBook sales declined by 10% in the first five months of 2015.
I looked up the most recent AAP numbers, covering the first half of 2015, which showed that:
• Trade eBooks declined 10.3% from 2014.
• eBook’s from the Childrens/YA category are down 45.5%.
The question is why are books different from, say, iTunes. iTunes is dominating the music space, with dedicated devices as well as smartphones and tablets (there has been a small resurgence in vinyl records). It may be that eReaders are limited, as many consumers would rather have fewer devices, and tablets and smartphones can also be used to download books.
Back when eBooks were making significant gains, I compared prices between the formats, and was surprised that eBooks weren’t significantly less expensive. For the most part, this still holds true today.
None of this means what eBooks are going away. What it probably means is that readers still like printed books, and users of eReaders, smartphones and tablets may utilize both the digital and printed formats. It also means that printed books are going to remain strong for a long time to come.