Are real books coming to an end?

Posted by Becca Mataloni

With talk of print dying, are books the next victim of technology?

New products like the Kindle and iPad make many believe that physical books are on the way out.

Nicholas Negroponte, founder of One Laptop per Child, gives it 5 years before books are only sold online.  He compared it to the role of cell phones.  Landlines are slowly becoming nonexistent as cell phones take over the world.  He expects e-books to do the same.

If you are anything like me, you may not understand the purpose of an e-book. Sure, you can have all the books you love at the touch of a button, which is very convenient, but don’t you love the smell and feel of a new book?

I guess I might be a nerd in that sense, but there is something about owning my own book that makes me feel special, rather than downloading a book that thousands of others can also have.

While some may find an e-book convenient, I find it a hassle. Who wants to spend time reading a book on a little screen, scrolling through pages every few seconds? Wouldn’t it ruin the suspense of a book having to wait for a page to load, instead of quick flipping over the page of a real book?

I suppose many would call me “old-school”, but I don’t understand the necessity of an e-book. Then again, I’ve never been one open to change.

Would you rather read from an e-book or a physical book? Do you think the e-book has many advantages over a printed book?

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3 responses to “Are real books coming to an end?

  1. Nicole Sternhagen

    I would take a real book over a physical any day. The green part of me knows that e-books are much better for the environment, but the part of me that grew up sitting on the couch with plain-as-day paperbacks in front of my nose wants to still have that experience of physically touching the pages and flipping through to favorite parts. There are many advantages to the e-book, like saving space and paper, but in my world, a physical book is irreplaceable. The experience of browsing books in a bookshop and reading that back cover summary is one I enjoy too much to give up. I think real books are going to be around for a long time still.

  2. I agree that real books will be around for awhile; 5 years is way too short of a time. Although they may not completely disappear, I do believe the sales could decrease because of the e-books. It would be such a shame if they stopped making physical books. Nothing can ever mimic the feeling of a new book. It’s one of the greatest.

  3. If I traveled frequently, I would invest in an e-reader. In one 10-ounce device, I could carry all the books, magazines and newspapers I could wish for.

    (And it would hurt less when I fall asleep reading and the e-reader rather than a hard-cover book bonks me in the face.)

    But I don’t foresee books (or magazines, for that matter) disappearing. I see e-readers as an additional way to consume books, not a replacement of them.

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