Finally, a tech article that says books aren’t dead or dying. The author suggests that tech pundits want books to die. This is a generalized statement and rather inflammatory. While he provides the example of a couple of tech pundits who do indeed want the book to die, that does not translate to all. And reading such a statement makes me ask, why? Why do tech pundits want the book to die? What difference does it make to them? That would be an interesting article in this whole books are dying/dead/only a little dead/not dead yet back and forth ping-pong match.
The people making the death of books predictions, what do they have against books? Why are they so eager to see them disappear? Do they hate books that much? Or, do they have some sort of vested interest in the death of books? Are the ones making the predictions owners of ebook technology and so, by making their predictions, think they will somehow hasten the end of paper? If that is what they are thinking they haven’t spent much time away from their computers talking to people who actually read books.
The author of the article suggests that the ebook market will hit a plateau as the early adopter market gets saturated and might even take a dive should there be a backlash against ebooks by those who don’t love tech for the sake of tech. I’m not sure about a backlash, but I can certainly conceive of there being an ebook market plateau. Where that plateau will be in terms of market share I haven’t the foggiest. I do know that as a Kindle owner for a year and half now, I have not bought a single ebook nor do I have plans of buying any ebooks in the future. All the books on my Kindle are free public domain books. I doubt I am the only ereader owner who has not bought an ebook.
Far from disappearing, I think paper books will be around for a very long time. I even think they will continue to have the majority market share. Readers will buy ebook readers and ebooks for vacations or business travel, or, if they are like my sister, because they live in a small apartment and have no room for a lot of books, and eventually perhaps students will have e-textbooks, but I don’t think the paper book is on its way out.
I love the article’s conclusion:
Books have a kind of usability that, for most people, isn’t about to be trumped by bourgeoisie concerns about portability: They are the only auto-playing, backwards-compatible to the dawn of the English language, entirely self-contained medium we have left.
It is so true. Plus, you don’t have to worry about a book you bought in 1980 no longer being readable in 2010 or 2020 or 2050. Now think about all that stuff you saved onto a floppy disk back in the day. I suspect today’s ebook formats are tomorrow’s floppy disks. I’m not willing to put my entire library on my Kindle today and not be able to read any of it in 10 years. Long live paper books!