Will books, as we know them, come to an end?
Are printed books destined to eventually join the ranks of clay tablets, scrolls and typewritten pages?
It’s no secret the popularity of e-books has surged in recent years, but in what direction are they headed and what will ultimately become of the printed word?
The Electronic Revolution
The emergence of the modern day e-book is largely credited to Amazon and the 2007 release of the Kindle. Almost immediately the device caused disruption in the industry and the hearts of publishers began to race.
2008 – 2010 saw e-book sales rise 1,260%, adding to the hysteria Apple released the iPad with its own iBook’s store and the revolution began.
Audible was the next to market, another creation from the giant Amazon. Taking e-books and E-readers out of the equation, we have the author reading the book to the reader, no book, no paper, no bookshelf, no library, no words, no text. Mind-blown.
Nearly all adults own a mobile phone, half of all adults own a tablet or e-reader and three in 10 read an e-book. Although printed books remain the most popular means of reading, over the past decade e-books have made a valiant effort at catching up.
The digital revolution was supposed to kill the humble reading book, at least that’s what we were told.
The E-book does have its limits, it's hardly revolutionary, it is exactly the same as print….except its electronic, on a screen, there is no creativity, no enhancement and no real digital revolution.
Could you ever give up that new book smell? No, we didn’t think so!
Books are great to share, there is no better feeling than putting a book in your friend's hand and saying “Here, you’ve got this to read”.
Books have jackets, other people will recognise the jacket and know exactly what you are reading and the journey you have embarked on.
They are not just for Christmas, print books are yours for life and will be around long after the e-reader has been traded in for a newer model.
Print books are theft resistant, you won't have to worry leaving one on the front seat of your car, it will be there when you return, we can’t say the same for your tablet.
It is completely possible that future forms of books might be developed not by conventional publishers but by anybody who likes to put out their thoughts and feelings.
The distinction between writer and reader will be blurred by a social reading experience in which authors and consumers can digitally interact with each other to discuss any passage, sentence or line.
A Social Book would allow members to insert comments directly into digital book texts and to stimulate discussions. The idea that reading is something you do by yourself will seem arcane. Why would you want to read by yourself if you can have access to the ideas of others you know and trust, or to the insights of people from all over the world?
The never ending “To Read List” shows no signs of slowing up, no matter how hard I try my efforts to get on top have never been able to catch up to my demand and love of books. The bookshelf is full and the overflow reservoir is bursting at the seams with titles I hope to consume at some indeterminate point in the future.
Admittedly I would find life a lot easier if I just downloaded all these books onto a Kindle or tablet. I’m not an eccentric reader and none of the books are special editions that would be difficult to find.
There is a certain romance about print that I just keep coming back to. Holding the book in your hand, physically turning the pages, absorbing the print, it just can't be matched for me by some pixels on a screen.
Which Do You Prefer?
Book Or E-Reader?
Let Us Know In The Comments!