Are e-books making the old-style book obsolete?

Will e-books eventually make the hardcopy (old-style) books obsolete?

This is a question that starts some interesting discussions. I work in a school that has a number of kindles. The boys have been borrowing them in much larger numbers this year, and so have the staff.

I have some staff members who refuse to entertain the idea of reading an e-book. They love the feel of the pages, the smell the very tactile eel of a book. Others love the ease with which you can carry an e-book reader and that you can have many books available to you on the small device.

One teacher was not keen for the students to read the e-book on the e-reader. We are a notebook/tablet school and she was worried about the boy staring at a screen for too long. We had to show her that the e-book reader was small and easy to hold, especially with its cover on (this makes it very similar to the way you hold the book). We also showed her how e-ink differs from our tablets. She was reassured and decided that it probably was ok for him to read e-books in their reading sessions.

The boys themselves have differing views. Some just want to read the story and it makes no difference to them as to how it is delivered. Some prefer the e-book and others prefer the traditional. The boys have borrowed a Kindle to read one book and when finished have continued to read other books loaded onto the device. Talking to a few boys this has led them to reading books they would not have read otherwise so it has broadened their reading and perhaps they have read not only more widely but just more books!

So for now I think we are quite a long way from seeing the demise of the traditional form of book. I live reading my own kindle and some of the picture books are great on my ASUS tablet but when I am reading to young children nothing beats sitting together and turning the pages together. I love being able to quickly get things on my kindle without having to drive to the bookshop but I also still enjoy visiting a bookshop on the weekends to browse the books on the shelves. I love browsing and looking at covers and flicking through the books they have in stock.

Things are changing but I believe for the moment the traditional book will still be a strong force. I cannot predict however how long this will be the case.

The infographic below is interesting. It indicates that people who own e-book devices say they read more than people who don’t, at a rate of 24 books per year to 15. The reasons for reading are varied but it also shows that reading itself remains a popular pastime but e-readers are rising in popularity so perhaps in the future there may be a world without the traditional paper books. Worldwide e-reader sales rose by nearly 3 million between 2010 and 2011 and buyers are not limited to one age-group. There are quite a few other predictions made as well.

The Rise of eReading: Are Books Going to Become an Endangered Species?
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4 Responses

  1. I really enjoyed reading this post. Lots of words for thought. Also loved the infographic and pinned it to my Pinterest Infographics board

    • It is a subject being debated here at my school. A student in one of the English classes I work with, is going to write a blog post with the working title “The kindle versus the traditional book”. I hope to include his thoughts oin a blog post here when he finishes and posts it

  2. I’m definitely part of the e-Reading revolution based on the stats in the infographic. I’ve always been an avid reader, but with an e-reader I’ve found that I’m reading even more and actually much faster.

    • You and quite a number of our students support this statistic. I love the portablility of my e-reader as well. It is such a great size and a convenient way to carry many books, especially when I had 4 weeks in the UK earlier this year. The buying e-reader means that I also do not have to build a new room onto my house to shelve all the books I can’t help but buy. However, I loved the Tohby Riddle book and I will buy that as its format is lovely in the old style.(It won’t take up too much room!)

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