How long until books go digital only?

I wondered how long I've got left to write a book that gets printed on physical paper.


  1. The other day I was talking to fellow New Scientist writer Cat de Lange about book writing when I thought occurred - given the rise of ebooks, would I ever get a chance to write a book that would be published on paper, rather than digitally? 

    Naturally, I asked Twitter, and got some mixed responses. Some people thought it was already too late, though I'm not sure I agree. It's true that sales of ebooks have already overtaken paperbacks, but there's still a demand for "dead tree" books:

  2. Others went the other way, pointing out that paper has been around for a long, long time and will continue to be around in the future:
  3. And some missed the point all together:
  4. Personally, I give it 5-10 years before mainstream publishers give up on printing all but the major titles on paper. There will always be demand for a physical book, but I think it will be more a collectors item, just as vinyl is seen as a luxury in the music world.

    I'm sure that if JK Rowling ever writes another Harry Potter book, fans will fall over themselves to buy the "deluxe collectors edition" on paper - so to get a printed book, I just need to become a wildly successful author...