Printed Books Remain Resilient Amid An E-Book Revolution

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” 

~Charles W. Eliot

E-reader

Will e-readers make print books go extinct? Probably not.
Image: Shutterstock

With the rapid rise of e-books, and modes in which to read them like the Amazon Kindle, NOOK, and other tablets, literature as we once knew it has undergone an enormous transformation. Printed book traditionalists have abhorred electronic book “readers” since their first real commercial arrival in the early 2000s. As technology has developed over time, one no longer has to turn the pages of a printed book to read a story, to indulge in classic or contemporary literature. But, what if they still wanted to?

Fear not, lovers of the printed word, you can still delight in the smell and feel of an old book as you turn its weathered pages, because print is here to stay. While tablets and e-book readers have grown in astonishing popularity, (back in 2007 the Amazon Kindle sold out within the first five hours of its release), scientific researchers and business analysts alike can agree that printed books aren’t a dying breed.

According to an article by Nicholas Carr in the Wall Street Journal,

“Half a decade into the e-book revolution, the prognosis for traditional books is suddenly looking brighter. Hardcover books are displaying surprising resiliency. The growth in e-book sales is slowing markedly. And purchases of e-readers are actually shrinking, as consumers opt instead for multipurpose tablets. It may be that e-books, rather than replacing printed books, will ultimately serve a role more like that of audio books—a complement to traditional reading, not a substitute.”

There is a feeling of nostalgia connected with printed books that many people are unwilling to abandon. Despite its offerings of modern convenience, there’s nothing quite like sitting on a parent’s lap while you learn to read, and seeing the colors and words come to life. Adults who enjoy reading grew up turning pages in books as they absorbed chapters and stories, rather than turning on an e-reader. Sure, e-books are functional, innovative, and handy, but when it comes to reading for pleasure, and for learning, hardcover book lovers and researchers have both argued that classic print books are better.

We are all part of an ever-changing technological reality, where today’s cherished printed stories might become tomorrow’s e-book. With some magazines and newspapers going out of print, many fear for the fate of their beloved books, but remain hopeful that printed texts will survive.

How do you weigh in?

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