There are many that argue that e-readers and hence e-books signal the end of books in print. I have a number of e-books and read them on both an iPad and a Kobo e-reader, so I am certainly a proponent and user of them. However, I just don’t believe the end of the printed book is yet in sight. Here are some thoughts on why.
1. Spend some time with kids. As much as they enjoy reading on computers and tablets, the ‘wow’ factor continues to be higher when they engage with books in print. Whether it’s in a pop-up format, scratch and sniff, beautiful illustrations, or quite simply, that smell, kids love traditional books. Guess who the future book buyers are?
2. For the foreseeable future, I think most readers use e-readers as an additive to regular purchasing. Being in a smaller city, at times my only option is to purchase a book for my e-reader (particularly when the purchase is time sensitive). However, my purchasing of printed books, while slightly altered by this, hasn’t changed much at all. Anecdotal evidence suggests the same for many readers and writers that I speak with.
3. It’s still more challenging to share an e-book than an old dog-eared copy. Most of the readers I know are giving people that are always anxious to pass along a great recent read. This is much more challenging with e-readers for several reasons – including the format, the particular e-reader, and so forth.
4. Many, I being one of them, remain a little skeptical about what might happen to e-versions of our books in 5, 10 or 20 years. If companies are bought, sold, or go bankrupt, might our collection go with them? While there are risk factors in any home, having that copy on the shelf, still feels much more secure.
5. The tangible of a printed book cannot yet be duplicated. As mentioned earlier, the smell, the texture, the ability to turn a page, and I could go on remains special for traditional books.
I will look forward to any thoughts or comments that others may have.