The book is dead!
Who reads books nowadays? Only a few?
Technology companies would like you to believe that books are no longer required and assigned to history just like the 8 Track Cartridge music player and the VHS Video recorder. Do you believe that? Is this just hype?
Personally, I like to read both physical books and digital ones. There is something more comforting about reading a physical book and of course, they are reliable as no batteries are required. A book is something that you can feel and touch and has a character of its own and not just the words and pictures it contains.
Digital books are a good way to replace those throwaway, paperback novels that soon turn yellow with age. There are other books that you will only need to read once and not refer back to that are good in digital form. However, the coffee table book that you want to peruse as you relax can’t be replicated to give the same feeling when digitized. I have a number of books that for me are certainly better to use in a physical form. Included in that are books about birds, maps, trees and other things that allow me to find and compare illustrations such as finding a bird that I don’t recognize with the illustration in the book. Flicking through a book is easier than a digital search in this instance.
However, the coffee table book that you want to peruse as you relax can’t be replicated to give the same feeling when digitized. I have a number of books that for me are certainly better to use in a physical form. Included in that list are books about birds, maps, trees and other things that allow me to find and compare illustrations such as finding a bird that I don’t recognize with the illustration in the book. Flicking through a book is easier than a digital search in this instance.
So are digital books on our iPad and Kindle going to assign books to history just like the dinosaur?
What do the facts show about book sales?
Nielson a company which tracks book sales showed that in 2016 books sales were up in the UK, US, and Ireland but down in Italy, Spain, Australia, and South Africa. Books are still selling in large volumes and maybe with digital more books in total are now being read. The picture can be somewhat complicated because physical book sales are greatly affected by the new books being published and how popular they are. Some years will have better quality publications than others thus varying the sales.
The way books are consumed could be similar to music in that there will be those who only want digital music, those who don’t want it at all and those who mix it up. Perhaps some will buy their most treasured music on vinyl (yes it’s back!) or CDs. Now that could be the same with books. Those that are most valued by the reader will be bought as a physical product and others less valued in digital format.
Will Books Become Extinct?
I personally can’t see the end of books as a physical product in the foreseeable future. The book is such a marvelous invention and when it first appeared, replacing the scroll a few thousand years ago, it has stood the test of time. It is easy to transport and store. If made out of good paper it is also extremely durable. One huge potential problem with digital is that as technology changes it can become impossible to retrieve information on new products. Anyone with an old collection of early videos or 8 track music cartridges will know this. Books don’t have this problem.
Books are for everyone
Thanks to people like Johannes Gutenberg the inventor of movable type and William Caxton books became available to the masses and not just the wealthy. Electronic devices in many parts of the world are readily available and have become affordable for the masses. Of course, there are those that can’t afford electronic devices and lending libraries are a valuable resource for people to read and borrow books. In poor countries, books are still going to be highly desired for those wishing to read and be educated.
How do you buy books?
Do you use only a Kindle or other electronic device or do you still buy physical books?
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