Being an author, I love books, although it seems somewhat axiomatic to say so. I enjoy holding them in my hands, turning the pages and diving into the world that the writer has created for us. That being said, with the advent of e-book readers the world of books as we know it is changing. There may, one day, be no page to turn, except in a virtual sense. Now, some people I know are actively against using an e-book reader, but I will admit that I can’t wait to have my own Kindle.
My reasons are simple, yet many. I really like the aspect of being able to carry an entire library around with you in the size of a single paperback and not even the same weight in most cases. With the Kindle as well, there is the ease of downloading new material pretty quickly. I can shop, preview the material and have it as soon as I need it. No having to wait to get home from the store or if you are the point and click variety of shopper like I am, no waiting for the book to ship. That’s another plus, no shipping costs. Since I have severe dust allergies, an e-book reader removes the factor of dust caused by page decomposition over the years, plus the amount of dust that collects (and so quickly too) on the number of books that I own. The reduction of the carbon footprint is also a draw; fewer trees will be needed to produce paper, fewer chemicals will be processed to make the ink, warehousing requirements are reduced or eliminated. Theoretically, that should mean either an increase profit margin to the publishing company who should then share the wealth with the author, or pass the savings along to the customer, or a combination.
Although the e-book concept has not yet caught on as much as some would have hoped, I believe that it is an idea that will continue to grow in popularity until the majority of books which are published will be published in printed and e-book format, and will continue along the spectrum until the e-book is the given publication and the publisher will consider whether or not to go to the expense of the printed book. Until the e-book reader format has been improved to provide a full color page capability, there will be a segment of books for which the e-book format is not practical.
Once the full color e-book reader has been established, will that then mean the death of the book? Will it be within our lifetime that printed books become a memory? While no one can answer that with any degree of accuracy, my bet is that there will be fewer and fewer printed books over time and an increase in e-books. But, until Fisher Price, or another company of that ilk comes up with a relatively inexpensive, indestructible e-book reader for children, printed books will be alive and well in the Children’s section of your virtual bookstore.