I think, for as long as we live, we will always worry about new technology taking over old technology.
Sometimes these worries are valid (cassette tapes, anyone?) but sometimes we’re a little too pessimistic. In publishing (and for avid readers in general), the hot topic has been the rise of e-books. Will there be an e-reading generation that doesn’t value print books? Will the printed word go extinct?
So far, studies have been inconclusive. There is evidence that my generation of readers (as well as older generations) still value physical books, but are open to trying other forms of reading. I have no doubt that I will attempt to pass on my love of print to the next generation, but I also have no idea how receptive they will be to my cajoling. Though I’m sure the print book isn’t going to go extinct anytime soon (in 2013, 17% of books purchased in Canada were ebooks), I still wonder if there’s a future where most people will prefer reading from an e-reader or tablet…
What do you think? Are you a print book purist? Or have you converted to e-reading? Do you think the anxieties over whether print books will go extinct is silly, or something to be worried about? What is the value of a print book over a digital one?
(I personally think it’s a little bit silly to worry about this, but I’d also be devastated if publishers stopped printing books. I’m not a print book purist as I do own an e-reader, but I much prefer reading in print. Take that as you will!)