I get it. When I get a new hardbound book and crack open the cover for the first time, the smell is intoxicating. I swear publishers put some kind of drug in the book binding glue to make it so addictive. But I also love my e-reader, and have been using it more and more... and in some cases, I'm preferring it over some paper books (because it isn't as heavy).
Also, in June 2011, adult paperback books plunged 64% from last year, while e-book sales went up 161 percent. This suggests that while many hardcover books are still being purchased (though it dropped 25 % in the same month), people who just want to read a book for the sake of the words, and not the format (i.e. paperback readers), are starting to gravitate towards e-books.
Libraries have growing digital collections, and some libraries have already started lending e-readers. I think in the future, it will be common practice for libraries will have little sitting areas with e-readers attached, where people can lounge and basically read anything that is public domain, or part of the library's collection. Which I think would be kind of cool, especially for people who can't afford to buy an e-reader.
When e-books first came on the scene, they were only available on computers, so they were hardly seen as a threat to the paper publishing industry. But since then, e-reader technology has made them look and feel like a book, and with e-ink, it almost looks like you are reading the actual page of a book. The technology still has a ways to go in terms of fully emulating a paper book, but who knows where it might be five years from now.
So when I saw this, I had to laugh a little. Fujitsu has made a tablet that can be read in the tub. So if you use such a tablet for e-reading, you could conceivably e-read in the tub now.
I laughed for a couple of reasons.
1. Why on earth would someone WANT take a tablet into the tub in the first place? (Seriously? Can we disconnect from technology for at least the few minutes of the day when we're washing ourselves?)
2. I just had seen someone remark that paper books are here to stay because you can't take an e-reader in the tub.
|Future of E-Reading? |
(Image from: http://www.stresscafe.com/bookseries.htm)
On the one hand, I could see this as a way to reach out traditional book lovers, on the other hand, I think it is a hilarious idea that technology would or should go through so much effort to emulate the printed format of books, when the format itself is just so different.
This all actually kind of reminds me of the earliest mass produced cars. They were made to look a lot like a horse-drawn carriage, because that's what people were used to seeing, and it became a selling point to those who liked "traditional" means of transportation. Hence, the "horseless carriage."
|Same Carriage, No Horse!|
It's hard to explain, but I still love the traditional book format. There's nothing quite like it. But when I consider that it is my nostalgia and childhood memories of reading that draws me to the printed word, I consider how generations after my own will view the medium if they grow up reading tablets or e-readers. Will they have the same kind of affection for the printed word as I do? Or will it be considered a "quaint" thing like horse drawn carriages?