Will E-Reading Kill The Written Word?
My inner English major always cringes at the idea of books becoming obsolete. In fact, this is a topic that some of my college writing and literature classes discussed about a year ago: The impending doom of books with the rise of e-reading. With the rise of devices like Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Noble’s Nook, books have begun to go digital, irking the traditionalists who still stand behind the importance of the printed word.
There has certainly been a shift toward technology in the publishing world. Newspapers and magazines have already begun the process of making their material computer- and mobile-friendly by encouraging online advertising and developing marketing strategies for their online readerships. Their physical forms, the printed newspapers and magazines, are also under scrutiny. There is speculation that printed news will die out as well.
Back to books. One infographic titled “The Rise of eReading: Are books going to become an endangered species?” points out that although printed books are still America’s #1 choice when it comes to reading, people who own an e-book device read approximately 24 books in a year, while those without e-book devices read a mere 15 books in a year. Convenience is one of the greatest assets of the e-book, allowing the owner to carry one, light-weight device around that can hold a large number of reading materials.
However, physical books are still valuable assets to the reading world. According to the infographic, 81% of surveyed readers said a regular book is best for reading with children, and 69% said that regular books are best to share with other people.
Here’s the deal: Books are not doomed. Not anytime soon. However, e-books are certainly a growing area that publishers have already jumped at the chance to work with. I think of the e-book as an innovative addition to the way people absorb literature. If it gets people to read more books, that’s fantastic! Lack of reading at all is far worse.
We should remember that books are still #1. People still write notes in the margins, share with their friends, and enjoy looking at pretty pictures with their kids. Since readers still consider physical books highly valuable, we can rest assured that books are still of significant importance.