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Digital publishing won't wipe out books, say fair exhibitors.

The use of e-books will not lead to the extinction of printed books, exhibitors and publishers participating in the 25th Doha International Book Fair stressed yesterday.

The event, being held at Qatar National Convention Centre, was inaugurated on Wednesday and would continue until January 17.

"Digital publishing has provided an opportunity for many authors to get their works published on the Internet directly. There are also well-known platforms for this, such as Amazon and others. Still, there are many people who prefer printed copies to digital ones," said Jon Malinowski, president of Combined Book Exhibit, a marketing company participating in the book fair.

"Further, there is a growing trend now in the UK and US for print on demand, wherein the customer wants a certain title and in a few hours can get the printed copy he desires," he pointed out, adding that the market for digital publishing is growing rapidly, existing alongside printed books.

"While the cost of a digital book is much less than a printed one, the profit margin for both the publisher and authors are higher in the case of digital books, because there is no cost for printing, paper and the process involved. Besides, digital books spread quickly and are easier to sell," he explained.

Yet, he stressed that printed books would remain a vibrant industry and the main source of publishing,

"When books on CDs were introduced some years ago, everybody thought that printed books would disappear, but this never happened. I believe that both industries can help each other and will co-exist for many years," he stressed.

Malinowski said his company is only displaying bestselling titles in the US and UK in the areas of academics and children's books at the fair. Those who want to buy a certain title can go to the website of the publisher. He added that their products were enjoying growing interest among visitors.

Similarly, Nizar Olleik, owner of Encyclomedia and an exhibitor at the fair, observed that printed books on arts, architecture, interior design and graphics were preferred to the digital version by customers. Besides, some of these books come with a CD and password/login name to view their digital copies on the Internet.

"Customers seeking such books are usually specialists and people interested in these fields. They like to own a book as a reference. The print industry in these areas is costly because of the photographs and quality of paper and printing, yet many people still buy (such books)," he said.

There are a number of stalls at the fair exhibiting e-learning programmes.

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Publication:Gulf Times (Doha, Qatar)
Date:Jan 9, 2015
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