Saturday, November 1, 2008

Is the book dying?

Since this is a suspense blog, I thought I would talk about the death of the book. Is it happening?

For years we have been hearing people predicting that the book was dying—on its way out the door. In the future people will read books on the computer or some kind of handheld device like the new Kindle at Amazon (which I do think is neat but way too expensive). I do think those devices will gain in popularity, but at least for the near future the book is alive and well—holding its own.

I read an article in an airline magazine on my way to Fort Lauderdale about a project that Microsoft was involved in. It’s the high school of the future. The library doesn’t have books that you can hold in your hand. Everything is on the computer and all the students have their own laptops. They don’t have textbooks.

For the most part things are going along okay, but the students and teachers are complaining there are no books around. They must research on the Internet. Teachers go home and spends hours adapting work from the Internet to present to their students. They miss not having textbooks to supplement their teaching.

Now I don’t know about you but I can’t sit at the computer all day and especially read on top of that a story on my computer. I think my eyes get tired from the light on the computer. Don’t get me wrong. I love my computer and what it can do, but I also love a good old-fashioned book to hold at the beach. So I’m hoping there is a place for both in the future.

What do you see happening in the next ten or twenty years?


Anonymous said...

I think it's wonderful, amazing, and the wave of the future. Sure there are hiccups now, but once things are in place it will all run smoothly.

You don't have to read on a laptop, you can read on your PDA, cell phone, or ebook reader. If you haven't played around with an ebook reader you don't know what you're missing. Models now have easy internet access with the ability to download your papers onto it from a remote source. You can tab, outline, file, mark pages for later use, note favorite lines etc. And ALL of it in "ink" which reads like a book. That means it's easier on your eyes than a laptop. Think paperback script with paperback pages and yes, it can be seen in the dark.

It's going green. It will never replace the Library of Congress, but it can also put a greater span of information and entertainment in the hands of those who wouldn't normally have access.

This is a good thing. Embrace it! :)

Margaret Daley said...

Thanks, Kelly. You make some good points.

Ellen said...

The day may well come when nothing is put on paper anymore but I believe that day is a long way off and not necessarily a good thing. And it is not totally a green thing when you consider what all this electronic equipment is made of and so much of it is not recyclable.

Anita Mae said...

I love print books and have one with me at all times. In fact, I'll use a quote from the old Julia show where Diahann Carroll says, 'I feel naked without them'. (She refused to open the door b/c she didn't have her false eyelashes applied.)

Kelly made some good points - especially the one about being able to reach those "...who wouldn't normally have access." So yes, there's a definite advantage to eReaders.

And, I do read eBooks with my laptop but when I sit in front of my laptop, I write. If I pull up an eBook, I feel guilty of wasting my writing time. When I'm at my laptop, my family assumes I'm writing and usually think twice before bothering me. My credibility will be shot if they ever find me reading b/c then they'll wonder about the other times, you know?

Also, I always read in bed before shutting the light off - okay...that's if hubby's not...uh...waiting...ahem... ;-)

Since the Kindle is supposed to be easy on the eyes and in the dark, maybe I'll still receive the comfort of reading before I sleep but until the price comes down...

So for me, I like having the options.

Chelle said...

I have yet to read any type of ebook. It just doesn't appeal to me. I love books; I love the smell of them, I love the feel of them.

After staring at a computer my eyes hurt, my head hurts. I don't think I would like reading on a phone or iPod, etc. They are so small!

Very good post, it's always interesting to think ahead of what they future may hold for us

PamelaTracy said...

I think e-readers are here to stay and definitely have a place, but I don't think they'll replace books. For years, we've been hearing that they'll replace textbooks in our college classrooms, but... when I'm teaching and my students are looking at their books, I know they're looking at the text for my class. I've stopped wanting laptops in my classroom. Too much monitoring. I have to walk around and become a guard making sure they're looking at class material. It takes away from teaching time and causes conflict. A woman at my church has an e-reader and has the Bible on it. Believe me, when I get my e-reader, I'll use that. But, when I was a teenager, if I'd had my Bible on, say a Kindle, I'd have been reading Gone With The Wind during the serman instead of Act.

Margaret Daley said...

The price of a Kindle will definitely have to come down. When it does, yes, I would like to try it but I won't use my computer to read books on. I sit too long in front of it as it is writing. I need the separation. Thanks for joining in on the discussion.


Debby Giusti said...

I want to read books!!! And I always will!!!

Although I might get a Kindle for work-related projects.

Okay, now I'm going to bed so I can curl up with a good . . . you guessed it . . . book!

Maureen said...

I think we will gradually see less print books as time goes on just like there are less CDs. I enjoy having a book in my hands and being able to bring it anywhere with me so I hope they stay around for a while.