I’ve been cheating on you with my iPad. I’m obsessed with reading lately and it’s all because of the convenience of eBooks. Between that and Fairway Solitare, it’s the only thing I use my iPad for.
I can go to the library from my couch and never have to worry about returning the book on time. Instead, they just take it from me. Meanwhile, I forget to pick-up a book I request at the library and am charged $2 for a book I never even touch.
I do miss the fact that I can’t skip back a few chapters to see if that character that was just mentioned was the same one they mentioned in chapter one to find out if I just solved the mystery. It also makes it hard to join a book club or use it for a textbook. I also miss looking at how thick the rest of the book is to determine if I can finish it in one sitting, or if I should just go to bed. I’m suspicious of whether or not eBooks will replace paper books or not because there are so many benefits to both.
When I go to the pool, I can’t take my iPad with me-; it’s the most expensive book I’ve ever purchased! But when I go on a plane, I’d much rather pack a less bulky book that can also check my email and Facebook all in one.
Studies show that hay-day of the eBook was in 2010 and since then, has had a dramatic decline, including a signs that sales are beginning to level off. It also shows that while ebooks are popular, they have yet to match the demand for printed copies. Is it nostalgia, resistance to change, or both? When we made the switch from CDs to digital music downloads the same trend occured. CDs continued to dominate for the first few years after their introduction, but they now dominate the market.
It reminds me of the moment Meg Ryan’s character turns off the lights of her empty boutique bookstore in You’ve Got Mail. It’s such a sad moment. Nearly as sad as driving past abandoned Borders stores after they went out of business. Can you imagine a future where our children don’t know what it’s like to visit a bookstore? It’s really not that hard these days.
I have faith that people will still crave a tangible book to supplement their digital readings. There are certain circumstances when you just need one over the other. Then again, if we look at sales trends of CDs to Digital music or how DVDs made VHS obsolete, chances are we’ll eventually live in a eBook only world. Brace yourself.
Do you think print books will remain in the market in the future?