Before Conclusions

Earlier today I was pointed to an article linked off The Passive Voice where it was asserted that sales of ebooks were again floundering in favor of print books, particularly in the realm of children’s books. The immediate conclusion was that children were getting fatigued from screen exposure. While I’d be excited by the prospects of society beginning to reject the immersion in technology we’ve been growing towards, I found myself skeptical within the immediacy of my reading it.

For starters, it’s been years now where traditional book publishers have been trying to sell the idea that ebooks are on the decline whereas print is regaining ground. In many cases, these articles fall short in truly validating whether this is the case. This article is no different.

Having a scientific mind, seeing data collected in this sort begs a few questions:

  • The article claims a 16% rise in sales for print and a 3% decline in ebooks sales for children’s books. Are there any corresponding price markups?
  • What are the unit sales of each?
  • When claiming screen fatigue, what evidence corresponds with this?
  • Are there any other indications of technology usage being down among children?
  • What is the margin of error when evaluating the sales figures?
  • How do these markers correlate to overall commercial sales? Book sales?
  • What are the marketing dollars spent on print vs electronic books?
  • Could there be a relationship with parents choosing print over ebooks do to a desire to disconnect children and not it being the children wanting disconnection?
  • What is the correlation with the pricing differentials between ebooks and print?
  • Is there a possibility of pricing being a factor, where ebooks are often too close to the price of the print making it a less desirable option?

I read an article that tried to insert conclusions to what I see as incomplete data. Also, I tend to agree with PV’s comments at the bottom: since when do kids turn down devices?

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