The main question is not whether ebooks will drive out print books, because nobody with any common sense really believes that, it’s what the ratio will be.
Boldfaced emphasis added by me.
In other words:
The main question is not whether horseless carriages will drive out horses, because nobody with any common sense really believes that, it’s what the ratio will be.
I stand here saying — as I always have! — that eBooks will drive out print books.
Big chains such as Barnes & Noble and Borders will go away.
Just as Virgin Megastore and Tower Records went away.
Large megastores cannot withstand the assault of the Internet.
Nor can small boutique stores.
Books that are primarily text will be reduced to POD — print on demand — and it will be at an outrageous price. Because the economies of scale that once ruled a print majority market will have been destroyed. A one-off POD book cannot and will not be priced the same as a copy from a run of 5,000 or 10,000 or 100,000. You will have to open a vein to afford a printed book.
People like to point out coffee table books. The ones people buy as souvenirs or investments and then never read. Those are already expensive and are not targeted to the general public anyway. They simply don’t matter. It’s not as if the Big Six expect such things to save their businesses (and if they do, they’re dumber than I already think).
So, no, it’s not a matter of ratio. It’s only a matter of time.
I suppose he thinks Apple should be selling iOS apps on a CD-ROM in its stores too!
Note that I am cruel and merciless to him on this one issue. The rest of that interview is worth reading because he otherwise has a very good grasp on publishers versus self-publishers.