When Books Die…

They won’t.  I understand that a lot of people (especially authors and writers) are freaking out because, since the rise of technology has been swift and steady – and is predicted to continue rising, at an ever faster rate – print books, like so many print magazines and newspapers nowadays, will eventually die out.  I do understand that fear: I felt it too, for a while.  But then I realized that, as long as there are people like me who love books – the real, printed things with musty pages and rich-smelling ink – the book industry will never die out.

Of course, it’s unrealistic and impractical to pretend and claim that things won’t change.  I fully expect the publishing industry to evolve and adapt to the changes that are happening as of now, but that’s natural and normal.  Of course things must change as time goes on.  On the other hand, I think that some of the changes will mean that the number of people and books being read online, or on other things than printed pages, will increase, and that change, in term, will cause some major changes in the writing and publishing industries.

There’s actually a debate going on right now (http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/checking-it-out/checking-it-out-part-i-reading.html) about whether reading from a page or a screen is “better,” but conclusions about the matter are mixed and… well… inconclusive.  Personally, I hold to the belief that people (including myself) read things slower and with better content retention when we read it from a printed page, as opposed to a document or page on a screen.  We’ve “conditioned” ourselves that way, to use a psychology term: that is, we’ve trained ourselves to read faster, skimming more, with more impatience and emphasis on speed while reading from a screen, while we’ve learned and trained ourselves to believe that sitting down with a book or looking over a page in hand is more intimate and meant to be slower, with better retention and attention.

Anyway, to sum up my argument, I think that the industry will change, yes, but I don’t think it’ll change so drastically that printed books will cease to exist.  I far, far prefer to read off a page than from a screen, and, as a writer who hopes to become published someday, I think that my role as a writer might also change somewhat.  It’s becoming more and more popular to self-publish now, and though I don’t think I’ll be doing that for myself, I am definitely involved with numerous online sites where I can post my work for publicity and critique/feedback.  So while I like some of the perks that Internet networking can provide, I don’t think it will replace printed books.


7 thoughts on “When Books Die…

  1. Stevie McAllister says:

    Actually, the traditional publishing community (the one that prints hard cover books) is stubborn. It has refused to update itself to compete on the digital level, which is why smaller companies for self-publishing are becoming more popular (even if some of them print low quality books).

    I tend to agree though. Books will hang on for a lot longer than people give them credit for. Another reason is: It has been prove that reading from a screen is more harmful on people vision, as you have to hold the screen closer to your face than you do a book.

    Plus, at least in terms of text books, those will be hard cover for years to come.

    However, it’s expensive to mass produce hard cover books, so books will continue to have e-files for them. And with Tablets becoming innovated more schools may start using them in classrooms ,which could cut down on physical books.

  2. InkSplashes says:

    That makes sense…..bigger corporations don’t want to change as easily because it’s harder to change such large kinds of organizations. Huh, that’s an interesting fact! I must admit, I much prefer reading a printed piece of paper over a screen.

  3. bcrouse12 says:

    More fun facts about independent publishing: you get maybe 20-30% of the royalties, but when you publish on a place like Amazon you get about 70%. Also, most publishing houses won’t advertise or promote for you so that sort of subverts some of the usefulness of going through them.

  4. ehull12 says:

    I don’t have a problem with e-books and print books co-existing. I like the smell and feel of a real book, while my grandma loves that she can change the font size on her nook. The existence of one form won’t necessarily eliminate the other.

  5. InkSplashes says:

    Oh, I don’t either, but I DO have a problem with e-books replacing print books. Like I said, I don’t think e-books WILL replace print books, but at the same time, I don’t want them too….if that makes sense(:

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