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Are Books Dead?

I really struggle with this one. At the low-end of the market, for sure. And all those self published eBooks and their cousins are unlikely to make it into print. But for the rest of the market, there are plenty of opportunities to stay in print and win. Cooking, art, boats – all categories I buy in and all in print.

E-books, in other words, may turn out to be just another format—an even lighter-weight, more disposable paperback. That would fit with the discovery that once people start buying digital books, they don’t necessarily stop buying printed ones. In fact, according to Pew, nearly 90% of e-book readers continue to read physical volumes. The two forms seem to serve different purposes. – WSJ

At the same time, I think we need much better packaging of music. Reading Paul Kelly’s incredible biog made me realize it. Chapters begin with a set of lyrics that are just amazing. It made me realize how much we’ve lost when we can’t sit and revel in the words and story behind them.

What do you think?

2 Responses

  1. By Pascal Kootstra on January 6th, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    I love catching up with my 1-7year old nephews and nieces for this reason, watching them pick up an iPad and just “get it” is fascinating – a sure sign that e-media will play a strong part in their lives. Whether books will be completely obsolete is a tough one to answer – maybe impossible for this generation as we see advances such as Google Glasses transform how we perceive information, it’s hard to predict what the next innovation will mean for the leafy pages.

    That is not a cop-out however; I don’t predict the extinction of books myself. Wait until story-time and you’ll quickly see that an i-Pad can’t replace the “cognitive imagery” that paper books provide. There is certainly still a market for the readily consumable material – magazines in a waiting room, the paper at your local café or a book at the beach. Coffee tables would be barren without high gloss printed images of tree houses… the fact that I’m writing this on an e-blog doesn’t provide any reassurance though.

    I wonder if the same was said back when DVD’s arrived on the scene – that stories would be delivered through TV as opposed to books?

  2. By Greg Kononenko on January 8th, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Have thought about this myself quite a few times.

    The main reason why I’ll continue buying physical books is for ease of reference – you can flick pages back and forth to quickly compare the content visually. Cannot do it on an iPad or eBook reader. So definitely in my mind the kind of books that needs interrupted mode of reading will remain physical – cook books, art mags, textbooks.

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