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"Books are dead" Topic

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2,049 hits since 22 Jul 2011
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Some other name Inactive Member22 Jul 2011 4:11 p.m. PST

A few weeks ago I told my wife that I won't be selling books within the next five years. Not because I don't want to but because printed books are dead. I've known it, we've all known it, for a few years. I'm just finally admitting it.

Just as vinyl gave way to cassettes which gave way to CDs, the music store was killed by digital. The printed book will eventually give way to the e-book.

There will be stores that hang on, especially the used-book store, but as more back copies become digitized the more book stores will die. B&N will try to hang on with their Nook but they will start closing stores to remain profitable.

I've been following the discussion about Border's demise with some interest. People are saying that it's cheaper to buy a book on Amazon than at most brick & mortar stores. Even with the Border's clearance sale their prices are higher than at Amazon.

It's not hard to see that the demise of the printed book is coming soon. Amazon recently reported that they now sell more e-books than they do printed books. Plus the ebooks offer instant gratification. I was at B&N a few weeks ago looking for Wawro's book on the Franco-Prussian war. They didn't have it, nor did any B&N in the area. Half-Price books didn't even have it. I spent 3 days looking for it and could not find a hard copy. At the B&N I was struck by how much they are pushing the Nook. At least 20% of their floor space was devoted to their e-reader. That's a lot of retail space.

I went to Amazon to check the prices there but as I wanted the book that day to take on vacation there was no way I could get a copy that quickly. However, they did have a Kindle version for substantially cheaper than a printed version. I don't have a Kindle but I do have an Android phone. I downloaded the Kindle app on my phone and tested a review copy of the book. Honestly, it wasn't as bad to read on my phone as I thought so I downloaded the full version.

I thought I would hate it as I like the feel of a book. I like to quickly thumb through the pages, go back and look at maps and pictures, quickly go to the index, etc. All things which you can do easily with a book. On the phone it's a little tricky but I eventually got used to doing the same things. Now I'm seriously considering buying a Kindle.

Now, I'm not the best judge of emerging technology. I said no one would ever buy CDs as they already had the music in LPs or cassettes. I also said that companies would not be solely internet based.

Yes, there will be niche publishers but I think soon most new books will only be available in digital format.

What do you think?

quidveritas Inactive Member22 Jul 2011 4:16 p.m. PST

My wife just loves her kindle.

I have yet to try it.

I do almost all my legal research on-line these days. Just too easy -- no need to go to the law library.

Like you I like books and have a slug of them.

I think the kindle can be made better than it is but it won't be long before this will be the way to go.

Think about it, no books for the school kids. Just bring your kindle to school in the morning.

dmclellan Inactive Member22 Jul 2011 4:31 p.m. PST

Not if one trend keeps up. One publisher is selling it's Kindle version for _more_ than its new release hardback copies. There is a lot of backlash on the Kindle forums toward this publisher.

And if this publisher is doing this with Kindle, I would expect them to treat Nook the same.

Quidveritas, I'm on the librarian end of the electronic journal content situation. I've watched ejournals go from a start-up about 1996 to the preferred delivery method today. The only down side is that publishers think of libraries as their personal ATM. One publisher raised their subscription price by 165% for 2012 over the 2011 price. And this is a publisher we can not live without.

45thdiv22 Jul 2011 4:34 p.m. PST

Well I am reading this post on my iPad. I have the kindle app and really enjoy it. What I like most are all of my PDF rules at my fingertips. I have thousands of paper books of all kinds, but I think it will be the electronic tablets more than kindle type e-readers that will cause paper to go away. The color display is what sold it for me. I never could get the hang of my wife's kindle.

Just my two cents.

Ambush Alley Games Inactive Member22 Jul 2011 4:43 p.m. PST

I went with the Nook over the Kindle and quickly upgraded to the Color Nook (and within a week or two they did a software update and I had poor-man's tablet, which was cool).

I've actually gotten to the point where I find books inconvenient. I still love the way the feel, look on the shelf, etc., but when I need to get some serious reading done, my Nook is the better tool.

I don't think books will ever go completely away (any more than vinyl records have), but I think they'll probably fill a different role (like vinyl records do).

Just my feelings, though – not based on any hard market research or anything. YMMV.

- Shawn.

The Gonk Inactive Member22 Jul 2011 4:46 p.m. PST

I really enjoy the Kindle for casual reading, but I couldn't imagine studying from it. The only advantage I see is being able to search the text, and on the actual Kindle appliance itself, it's too cumbersome. I do prefer a PDF for that.

Some other name Inactive Member22 Jul 2011 5:16 p.m. PST

I tend to agree that the multi-function tablet will probably hasten the demise of printed books more than kindle-type e-readers.

nazrat22 Jul 2011 5:23 p.m. PST

How will ignorant idiots manage to have a good old fashioned book burning without paper books, hmm? Can't be done! What are they going to do, dance around a pile of iPads waving powerful magnets or something? 8)=

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP22 Jul 2011 5:26 p.m. PST

2009 – UK new book sales : £3.4billion
2009 – UK e-book sales £4million
2010 – UK e-book sales £16million

I think ebooks will continue to grow, but the printed book is a long way from dead.

Vinyl is growing as a format.

In the UK new CD sales in 2010 – 120million CDs.
2010 also saw a rise in CD sales in the USA compared to 2009.
CDs – not quite dead yet.

All these figures ignore the huge second hand market.

Ebooks will "win" when more than 50% of people have a portable reader.

And in America Book Industry Research published in 2010 showed :

2% of American book buyers over age 13 are active ebook user
(The most-used device for reading an ebook is a personal computer (47%); Amazon Kindle is number two (32%), followed by Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch (21%).)

So 98% were still buying old technology paper, and half the ebook users had them on their PC (laptop ?).

Personally I think you're looking at more than 5 years to sweep all that away. But, lets reconvene in 2016 and see what happened.

chuck05 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian22 Jul 2011 5:37 p.m. PST

I like books. Call me old fashioned. Books have material value. When Im done reading, I can sell it if I decide I dont want it anymore.

If e'books mean less books going out of print for years, then chalk that up in the plus column.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP22 Jul 2011 5:45 p.m. PST

Paper buyers are also a dying breed. Schools are moving to e-readers (there are already paperless private schools). My daughter reads about 75% Kindle, 25% paper. and that only because certain titles are not on Kindle (like Harry Potter).

In 2 years I expect she'll only read school texts on paper…

combatpainter Fezian Inactive Member22 Jul 2011 5:49 p.m. PST

Save the trees!

Personal logo Pictors Studio Sponsoring Member of TMP22 Jul 2011 5:59 p.m. PST

"What are they going to do, dance around a pile of iPads waving powerful magnets or something? 8)="

How do magnets even work?

I'll keep buying the paper ones. I'm not even a fan of pdfs.

D A THB22 Jul 2011 5:59 p.m. PST

I think that each has its place.

I work in the Copier/Printer industry and were told that Society would be paperless in a few years.The increasing amount of printers that we install into Government departments and Schools seems to be never ending.

For reference I can have several books open at the same time and when I finish with it it can be put on the shelf. I'm wondering just how technology is going to be able to keep up with the storage needs of our hobby.

I have two dead computers with out of date technology and lost data on them and one on the way out. I couldn't say how many work Laptops I've been through.

Old books are still on the shelf ready to be picked up any time. I'm not getting rid of them anytime soon.

Mako11 Inactive Member22 Jul 2011 6:07 p.m. PST

Not to me, but hopefully the reduced demand means I can get lots of great ones at a much cheaper price.


Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP22 Jul 2011 6:20 p.m. PST

Paper buyers are also a dying breed

Not according to the sales figures.

Some other name Inactive Member22 Jul 2011 6:39 p.m. PST


Just found these stats. While book sales increases over 3% from 2009 to 2010, sales of adult hardback and mass market actually fell. Sales of ebooks in all categories roughly equalled 8% of the market – an increase over 2009. So it would be intetesting to see the numbets for 2011.

Some other name Inactive Member22 Jul 2011 6:40 p.m. PST


Dang phone

Personal logo gamertom Supporting Member of TMP22 Jul 2011 7:34 p.m. PST

Printed books will become more of a niche market than they are at present, but won't disappear. Just look at wargaming in general – first person shooter games, often with multiple participants, are played by lots and lots of people, yet there are still us hard core miniature wargamers who have a much wider choice of figures than at any time in the past. We're not gone (yet) so there remains a miniatures niche market regardless. And I suspect that 3D printing will make today seem like the dark ages in 10-15 years when you'll be able to order just about any type of figure you want and receive it already in the specified colors and pose requested.

Print on demand will probably as big of an influence in the long run as the electronic readers – especially since anyone can write a book and get it published via print on demand. I fully expect that printed books will be sold via print on demand books rather than "go into a bookstore and buy it off the shelf."

panzerCDR22 Jul 2011 7:35 p.m. PST

I LOVE books.

I have more books than I have space on my bookshelves, at home and at work. I can easily spend a day in the library in the stacks. My motherp-in-law warned my wife that my book aquisitions were out of control and it "had to stop."

I have a kindle and wasn't that impressed with it as a book replacement.

I got an iPad this week at work. The combination of a book sized reader with superior graphics and scrolling software was impressive enough for me to state aloud to my long suffering family that "Books are dead."

The trajectory may be long, but I am probably the last person in my family to have overloaded bookshelves. How we store the digital files may vary, but thinking the future's center of gravity won't be digital is whistling in the graveyard.

Sigh . . .

Anyone need some bookshelves?

Broadsword Inactive Member22 Jul 2011 7:36 p.m. PST

More than just eReaders did Borders in: link

"A revolving door of chief executives—three in the past two years plus one interim chief—whipsawed it from one business plan to another. "

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP22 Jul 2011 7:39 p.m. PST

Do keep in mind we're in a worldwide borderline depression right now, which affects the sales of everything.

I don't think the print book is dead, but I do think certain aspects and genres may shift to e-book. In fiction, casual reads will probably stay in both formats, and see rises in digital formats over traditional. Non-fiction will depend on genre and purpose. In general, I suspect the more "literary" the work, the greater likelihood people will want a physical copy. The more casual or simply informative, the more an ephemeral digital format will be preferred.

I suspect that children's books will remain dominated by physical books, because parents and grandparents will value the physicality of a book as a gift over an ephemeral version, and many book-buying parents may object to anything that commits their children even more to the "wired" mania of the age. And, of course, nobody really wants to leave a $500 USD device in the hands of a child (especially the younger the child is).

I also expect a societal backlash to the demise of the bookstore, that will see the return of smaller, independent stores as luxury centers. They won't have the high-traffic sales of the big box stores or Amazon, but they'll wind up with a dedicated clientele that eschews the "popular" route of cheap sales in favor of a personal relationship with a local shop.

The big box chain phenomena may have been a flash in the pan because it attracted a huge influx of mainly casual buyers, not realizing that these would "move on" just as soon as even cheaper sources opened up. But I think the core buyers of book lovers remains, and can sustain smaller stores that learn to concentrate on both service and the literary product rather than the popular and mass appeal items.

Andrew Preziosi Supporting Member of TMP22 Jul 2011 7:39 p.m. PST

We'll I LOVE my Nook too, but I must admit, I only have Freebies on it…the vast majority being 18th-19th Century books and manuscripts, some primary source docs…that I need/use to write.

I am thinking about upgrading to the Nook Color next year, but only so I can use it to finally increase the size of the .pdf's I'm reading…because their 19th Century format does not work with Nook, but can be increased with Nook Color.

Thank God for Epubs, Google Books and most of all…!

The Gonk Inactive Member22 Jul 2011 7:46 p.m. PST

The one thing that keeps me buying paper books vs. ebooks is the price-- the e-price seems mostly on par with the real book, which keeps me buying the real book, in general. I think the fair e-price is about 1/3 the real book price. That's how it "feels" to me.

Some other name Inactive Member22 Jul 2011 7:51 p.m. PST

2011 doesn't look much better for the printed word…

Category 2011 YTD 2010 YTD Percent Change
Adult Paperback $473.1 USD Million $576.4M -17.9%
E-Books $389.7M $149.8M +160.1%
Adult Hardcover $386.2M $504.1M -23.4%
Religious Books $252.5M $227.8M +10.8%
Children's/YA Hardcover $198.1M $211.4M -6.3%
Adult Mass Market $185.1M $264.8M -30.1%
Children's/YA Paperback $163.5M $192.5M -15.1%
Downloaded Audiobooks $36.5M $31.2M +17.0%

I know it doesn't format well for TMP but basically YTD sales are down for all categories except ebooks and downloaded audiobooks.

It's interesting that ebooks have taken over the #2 spot from adult hardcover and that religious and children/ya hardcover have moved above adult mass market.

Mark Plant22 Jul 2011 8:00 p.m. PST

Ebooks will "win" when more than 50% of people have a portable reader.

They will have won long before that. Half of people today don't even read books on paper. So by the time they are buying e-readers the deal will have been done.

The day will come soon when the textbook manufacturers accept that e-books are the future.

With a kid going through several hundred dollars of textbooks each through their time at school it will soon be cheaper to give them a reader than to buy paper. (If you teach literature out of copyright it is probably already true.)

What is required is a mechanism to sell year-long copies to schools and universities. Once that has been sorted out the demise of paper will soon follow. Generations will grow up barely touching paper books at high school.

darthfozzywig Supporting Member of TMP22 Jul 2011 8:42 p.m. PST

Do people still read?

Some other name Inactive Member22 Jul 2011 8:47 p.m. PST

I also expect a societal backlash to the demise of the bookstore, that will see the return of smaller, independent stores as luxury centers. They won't have the high-traffic sales of the big box stores or Amazon, but they'll wind up with a dedicated clientele that eschews the "popular" route of cheap sales in favor of a personal relationship with a local shop.

I remember similar prognostications about record stores, local hardware stores and even video stores. You don't find those independent stores around much anymore. Either killed off by large chains, technology or both.

Personal logo FingerandToeGlenn Sponsoring Member of TMP22 Jul 2011 9:57 p.m. PST

I read almost everything via my Nook color. Almost because I still want my reference books in hardcover. With Borders throwing in the towel, epubs might win sooner than later. New tech always throws the old guard into an uproar. Just the other day we were lamenting about how hard it is to get good help to press the papyrus.

aecurtis Fezian Inactive Member22 Jul 2011 9:58 p.m. PST

It really should not be necessary to explain this, but: buggy whip manufacturers still exist.

Despite the proliferation of automobiles, some people still drive buggies, carriages, carts, et cetera. (Not to mention those that require whips for harness racing, training riding horses, and other uses.) As a result, buggy whips continue to be made.

I know where to find plenty of record stores. This town still has two independent hardware stores, even with a Wal-Mart and a Home Depot. The video stores are in trouble: hard to compete with Netflix and DVD kiosks.


Connard Sage Inactive Member22 Jul 2011 10:08 p.m. PST

Everybody is coming at this from an Anglophone PoV, as usual. I'd like to see the sales figures for e-books in French, German, Italian, Russian etc, etc…

Oh, and in Chinese.

Because until those markets fall too, you can bet your arse you'll still be seeing paper books. Despite what the technophiles want to assume.

I'm not much bothered either way, I'll still read. I'm happy with my e-reader, and unlike some of you I don't have to try and justify its cost by pronouncing the demise of another medium.

platypus01au23 Jul 2011 12:01 a.m. PST

Allen is right, you can still buy riding crops. I've seen them in those movies I…errr.. download……


Huscarle23 Jul 2011 2:22 a.m. PST

The book will never die out in my lifetime, nor in many lifetimes to come. e-books of various sorts will grow, but these will more often than not compliment the hard copy book.

bsrlee23 Jul 2011 2:47 a.m. PST

The capability of producing an encrypted e-book that can only be read once already exists, but the few attempts to market it have failed largely due to public resistance – publishers & some authors are all for it. DRM is just an intermediate step, along with formats that will not be made compatible with future platforms.

As for those publishers who charge more for the electronic version, I can't see the authors getting a cent more in royalties, it will all go into executive bonuses.

Ever tried to read an e-book with a flat battery? That is why paper books will continue to be sold.

What I can see happening is for books to be sold with a disk or similar device included with the files to load an e-copy of the book onto a portable reader. Bean already do this with some of their hardback SF, and I have seen paperbacks with a URL and code to download an electronic version printed inside.

Mapleleaf Inactive Member23 Jul 2011 3:11 a.m. PST

The age of the mass produced paper back may be ending or at least changing. IMO there will still be a need for specialist books and people will still want them. Unfortunately as the mass market stuff was the bread and butter of local stores finding and buying actual books will become more difficult.

At the same time E Publishing will allow access for more authors ( good and bad) as the ability to get your book out there will be both easier and less expensive. So more choice in a different format.

Paperbacks has a similar effect when they first came out as first they were not considered serious. See the story of Penguin books who quickly championed the new process/

Cosmic Reset Inactive Member23 Jul 2011 3:37 a.m. PST

Most of my books are used for research, often that involves having several volumes open at the same time, comparing drawings, maps, and tables. I've spent the last 13 years seeing how this doesn't work well on a computer, and can't imagine that it will work any better on a the smaller screen of an e-reader. I don't imagine that stabbing that e-reader screen with my pair of dividers, while scaling drawings will go over so well either. I have and regularly use books that are 100-150 years old. I refer back to them time and time again (also do that with most of my newer books). I wonder if e-readers of 25 years from now will allow me to view current formats. Current music players don't play my records and tapes. I suspect that e-reader makers will expect me to repurchase my e-format books (fat chance). E-books that permit me to read them once are about as useful as a pen that can only write one letter.

I expect that e-books will replace a lot a contemporary fiction sales, garbage textbooks, and anything else that often has a short useful lifespan, but that does not include all books. I have thousands of books, something like 7-8 percent fall into a category of things that I will read once, or rarely refer back to. The rest are resources, tools used in a manner that is often not well suited to an electronic format.

Electronic format will save a lot of space, offer convenience in many ways, but also carries a lot burden. Devices fail, batteries die, formats change, software files go buggy, etc. If I sit or accidently stand on a book, so what? How many times can I stand on a Kindle, or drop it on its corner in the parking lot, or half fold it in the trunk of my car?

The face of publishing is changing, as is the market of the bookseller, but I suspect that it will be some time before books die a proper death.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP23 Jul 2011 4:57 a.m. PST

Everybody is coming at this from an Anglophone PoV

Not everyone !
TMP link

What really makes me laugh is the idea that what happens in Europe and North America is "the whole world". In the real world people still plough using an oxen team, still reap by hand. In the part of the world where ebooks have a delivery problem ("hey, I can't get the internet ! Oh, that's right, I don't have a computer or a broadband line, or even electricity") paper will "linger".

Schogun23 Jul 2011 5:08 a.m. PST

There was a TV commercial recently showing a woman sitting on the beach reading her e-reader. I always wondered what she would do when she wanted to go into the water. I.e. what does she do with her e-reader so it doesn't get stolen? Lose e-reader = $200-$300; lose paperback book = $7. USD

Femeng2 Inactive Member23 Jul 2011 5:16 a.m. PST

I agree with Irishserb. When will they publish an ebook version of a 'coffee table' art book? Scientific and Engineering publications will remain printed. As Irishserb notes, research and engineering involves having many books oopened simultaneously, for reference to charts and factors. Until readers become HD and 11"x14" or larger, they do not 'compute'. Just as today's computer designs have to be human checked (unless you wish to lose you mars space probe due to a computer glitch, too), e-books will never replace all books. In fact, those books which will have to continue to be printed out (not published) will become expensive more than just by cost, but by need.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP23 Jul 2011 5:47 a.m. PST

The e-reader will never entirely replace paper, I agree. I know University presses are looking at going to e-books. This will save them the huge capital expense of printing paper. Other niche publishers will follow.

Graphics heavy books will linger longer. Art, architecture, some text books.

I'm sure in the next year or two a "big" book will be e-reader only. It won't sell as many copies that way but it will drive e-reader adoption.

With Borders going under, and B&N clearly headed to a web-only model, and Joseph Beths never having made any money, in a few years there just won't be any book stores here in Cincinnati aside from used/antiquarian. Maybe a few "beach read" racks will hang around in drug stores, but does that really count?

As for the rest of the world, what's easier? building retail infrastructure to open a book store? Or putting up a few broadband towers?

Video stores here are closing, and the three record stores i knew of have closed. Perhaps I could find one, but why would I? I have broadband….

Connard Sage Inactive Member23 Jul 2011 5:54 a.m. PST

As for the rest of the world, what's easier? building retail infrastructure to open a book store? Or putting up a few broadband towers?

Simplistic in the extreme. The internet requires its own infrastructure, and a level of wealth that some countries don't possess.

What's easier? Supplying a case of books to, say, Ghanaian schoolchildren, or supplying their village with electricity, computers, broadband and e-readers?

In such an environment which media would last longer?

Evil Bobs Miniature Painting23 Jul 2011 6:38 a.m. PST

Meh, I'll stick to my paper books. They don't need batteries and I prefer the tactile nature of them. It's a physical possession that doesn't rely on a certain level of technology to be bale to access. And I have the sneaking suspicion that e-books will become like music did: the technology will continue to evolve and change, making previous incarnations useless forcing the customer to replace their collections to drive sales of older material.

Plus, I can't stand reading anything of any length or complexity on a screen.

gunnerphil23 Jul 2011 7:11 a.m. PST

I am British but live in Spain, so buying ebooks is a problem for me. I can buy books from Amazon UK but ebooks I would have to but from Amazon US which would involve a dollar/sterling conversation charge and I pay a higher charge plus not all books even if in Kindle format are available.

So I will stick the real books for now

Personal logo aegiscg47 Supporting Member of TMP23 Jul 2011 8:28 a.m. PST

My university is part of the Google Books On Demand printing service and I was looking for Fire & Sword in the Sudan. Found it on Google Books, hit the button, filled out three items on the form and in an our my book was ready to be picked up for $10. USD I think this kind of service is going to hurt bookstores as well.

Oldenbarnevelt Inactive Member23 Jul 2011 9:39 a.m. PST

aegiscg47, there are several bookstores in the Seattle area that also offer the print-on-demand service.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP23 Jul 2011 11:54 a.m. PST

As for those publishers who charge more for the electronic version, I can't see the authors getting a cent more in royalties, it will all go into executive bonuses.

It doesn't work that way, at least not with any half-way savvy author.

Digital production rights are independent from physical production rights. So the publisher has to buy *both* rights to create an e-book. They can't just willy-nilly produce an e-book out of any physical book they have publication rights too. There are some boilerplate contracts that try to sneak this past an author, but any decent copyright attorney or agent will catch it, and the savvy author just lines 'em out and tells them, "Sorry, that's mine. If you want e-rights, it's a separate deal." The percentages to authors can be much, much higher on an e-book because the publisher knows they really haven't got much of an infrastructure advantage over what the author could conceivably do or pay for himself. The only thing they can offer is editing and design capability and marketing/name prestige. Most authors go with their physical book publisher simply because it's easier and allows the e-book to share the visual aesthetic of the physical book. But they don't have to.
The reason that e-book prices remain disproportionately high to the apparent cost of production is partly to not undercut sales of physical books as much as anything else.

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP23 Jul 2011 1:42 p.m. PST

Me likes books -- Me does not like computers -- Me collects books --Me is glad that Me is 60!!
Russ Dunaway

Mark Plant23 Jul 2011 4:02 p.m. PST

Some of the propsed "reasons" why books will last are just ridiculous.

Ever tried to read an e-book with a flat battery? That is why paper books will continue to be sold.

Ever tried to drive a car without petrol? That is why horses will continue to be ridden.

Lose e-reader = $200-$300; lose paperback book = $7

Lose my copy of the Shorter Oxford – $ 165 (+ postage). The smaller Kindles are already cheaper. And I have books that cost over $ 200.

Most of my books are used for research, often that involves having several volumes open at the same time.

Which I do frequently, on-screen, flipping between them. (That's because I'm too cheap to buy a proper screen that allows side-by-side viewing in A4.)

If worst comes to worst I print a table or map so that I can take notes (which I will not do to a paper text). Paper books don't lie flat and take up more space. Printing is much better, even when I have the text.

By working in e-form I also get to cut-and-paste text and auto-translate.

buggy whip manufacturers still exist

In niche market only. Just like paper books will become.

What's easier? Supplying a case of books to, say, Ghanaian schoolchildren, or supplying their village with electricity, computers, broadband and e-readers?

They don't need to be on the electricity grid, nor have broadband to use e-books. The real comparison will be between paper books and e-books on chips (powered by generators or wind up).

Cell phones are now becoming ubiquitous in the developing world. That is because they do not rely on governments imposing infrastructure. E-books likewise don't need much structure: they just have to be cheaper.

(The books a Ghanaian school has may last a lifetime, but are out of date in doing so. Mere survival is no proof of worth.)


Really what most people are showing here is that they have is a love of books that is entirely irrational. Cool: we all have irrational likes.

Just don't be fooled that the next generation will share your love of paper.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP23 Jul 2011 5:46 p.m. PST

Just don't be fooled that the next generation will share your love of paper.

I know some of the next generation, and they read paper books all the time. Most of the people I know with kindles are more my age – because it's "us ancient old people" that read the most books.

What are ebook lift the flap books like ? And all those paper engineering books ? or the ones with different textures ? Or the oversize ones for group reading in prmary schools ? And those huge art books ? And the ones with fold-out cutaways of ships and tanks ? Can I get Strangeway's biography of Cecil Sharp on ebooks yet ?

Has Ghana really decided to prioritise the purchase and distribution of ebooks and their wind-up readers ? Where do I buy a wind-up kindle ?

I still think ebooks will "win" in the end for most uses – but I strongly suspect that I'll be able to buy paper books (on demand printing will be a huge lifeline for this) for the rest of my life. When I'm dead, then do what the heck you like, I for one won't care.

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP23 Jul 2011 5:49 p.m. PST

Mark, You just hit the nail on the head -- my love of books is based on the idea of collecting them -- a hobby in itself -- I think this is true for many people? this does not mean that books will survive--just because we like them?
Just like one of your illustrations above -- the horse --it went from a most needed neccessity to all of mankind to just a simple hobby in just a matter of a few decades --but it does still survive and I would not call the interest in the beast irrational?
Russ Dunaway

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