Will e-readers and tablets make printed books obsolete?
As e-readers and tablets continue to grow in popularity, many of us are beginning to question the future of the printed word.
These new technological devices are changing the way books are read, sold and published.
On one hand, we have individuals like Tim Bajarin, President and Principal Analyst of Creative Strategies, who believe that “it is only a matter of time before we stop killing trees and all publications become digital.”
On the other hand, we have analysts such as Allen Weiner, who believe that although the shift to digital publishing will undoubtedly force publishers to think differently, it will not “spell the demise of print (book) publishing.”
Now, I am certainly no expert on publishing, but I don’t believe that e-readers and tablets will take the place of printed books. There is something about a paper book that cannot be replaced.
No matter how portable e-readers may be, I much prefer reading off a printed book rather than a screen. I’m not sure if it’s the weight of the book in my hand or being able to physically turn the pages of a printed book, or perhaps it is the satisfaction I feel when I can visually see how much of the book I have actually read. Whatever the reason, there are just some things a digital publication can never have that a printed book always will.
There is no doubt that when it comes down to portability and practicality (particularly for frequent travellers- whether it be a long-haul flight or peak-hour transport), e-readers give a whole new definition to the phrase ‘travelling light’.
I recently returned from a vacation in Europe and believe me packing light is definitely not one of my strong suits. Whilst I was over there, I purchased a number of fashion books and magazines from different countries (evidently, the 32kg luggage restriction had completely slipped my mind). Hence, this highlights that e-readers and tablets not only save you the hassle of having to exhaustively lug around extremely heavy luggage, but also rescue you from the exorbitant excess baggage costs.
I don’t know about you, but I certainly won’t be trading my beloved printed publications for e-books anytime soon, however, I will most definitely consider investing in an e-reader or tablet before my next holiday, merely for the sake of convenience.
National Public Radio (2010) ‘E-Book Boom Changes Book Selling And Publishing’, December 21, <http://www.npr.org/2010/12/21/132235154/e-book-boom-changes-book-selling-and-publishing>.
Chapman, Glenn (2011) ‘Tablets, e-readers closing book on ink-and-paper era’, Agence France-Presse, October 29, <http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/lifestyle/gadgets-and-tech/12/29/11/tablets-e-readers-closing-book-ink-and-paper-era>.