Are eBooks Killing Books?

The Sky is Falling and eBooks will be the End of Printed Books, Bookstores, & Kids who Read

has become a popular theme in blog posts these days. Many of these posts are based on emotions, fear of change, and nostalgia with very few actual facts and current data.  (The eBook market is changing so fast any fact over two month old is probably grossly outdated.) 

This example is an excerpt of a comment made to a post from The Passive Voice.

“Books will be next, and so is the very definition of what a “book” even is. It will be dissolved into the flattened-graph diffusion of a global population shuffling digital snippets of increasingly valueless code back and forth to one another, especially once we reach the generation who grows up knowing nothing but e-books. The lowest common denominator is about to get a whole lot lower.”                        Full post at: www.thepassivevoice.com/05/2011/ebooks-will-devour-the-mass-market-paperback/

That is what I meant by emotional!

I loved physical books. When I gave in and bought the Kindle3 Wi-Fi, it was because of eyestrain; you can change font size. I expected a substandard reading experience. Guess what? The Kindle is simply a better reading tool than a book; in fact I don’t want to read the paperbacks in my “to be read” pile. Who knew? (My Kindle’s display is simple solid black type; it isn’t backlit, pixelated, or in color.)

What I learned is the magic of a book is the Story, the Words, not the ink on paper. I still think it will be sad if printed books disappear but then my Grandmother missed horses and radio shows. I do get the sadness of change but nostalgia is one thing, stopping progress is an entirely different thing.  

I’ve never read a stone tablet, hand written scroll/book, and my books were not printed from hand set lineotype like my Grandmother’s were. But I am still a reader. If my future grand-kids never hold a printed book and only read on eReaders, they will still be readers —and they can read  classic books on Kindle for free! Kids who are nurtured with stories will become readers no matter what the stories are read on.

Maybe the alarm ringers can console themselves by being happy for the trees not felled to make paper, and the pollution not spewed by shipping trucks or readers driving to the bookstore.

Besides some books will always be printed! After all, I need to buy my future grand-kids a printed version of “Pat the Bunny.”

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