The end of the paper based book has been mooted by many over the past few weeks and months. This has largely been based on the perceived rise of devices like the iPad and the Kindle, to name but two and the availability of eBooks on Amazon etc. Sales figures have been released to show the growth in the eBook versus paper based “hard” books. As a technologically savvy human, I have to admit that I love my gadgets. But I also love books. I want to share with you some of the reasons why I believe the death or demise of the “hard” book has been grossly overstated.
- The advantage of having a book in your hand are difficult for any power consuming, electronic device to improve upon.
- You can give a gift of a book to anyone. You do not have to consider whether they possess a device to interpret it. Once they can read, the “platform” is built in.
- You can pass a book on to a friend / partner. Share the love. Increase the appreciation. Drive the next sale!
- Books speak to you and to others. They integrate with your personality. A cherished book is something that I am proud to display on my shelf. It speaks to me and to those who only read the title on the spine. They make a statement about you and show you are a person of taste.
- Books are just so damned convenient. Read them in bed, in the loo, on the train / boat / plane (and you don’t have to turn it off during take-off and landing. That really gets me. Just when I need distracting too!)
- Books have mass market appeal that is unlimited to
- There is no technology to go wrong – nothing to get in the way of reading where and when you want. No dead batteries. No fragile displays. They are robust and simple. They work and have been proven to work for generations. If we went to an all electronic system, imagine the problem that a future generation might have if we were to catastrophically, dinosaur-like, disappear from the earth. What is a CD then only a piece of plastic? What is a kindle / iPad without power? Same thing. Can I rest my case yet? No? OK then…
- Books have a certain “je ne sais quoi”. No, truthfully, je sais quoi! They have a touch and feel to them that enhance the reading experience.
- Don’t simulate to stimulate. I like the sound of that. I hope you get the meaning. Technology is a simulation of the real thing. No need to simulate. The real thing works fine, thanks.
- Books are like old friends and companions – they bring reassurance and a feeling of familiarity. Is it OK if I just say I like them!
- They can act as furniture or an accessory to a home. Look at any bookshelf or bookcase to see that this is so.
- They can be used to prop up a table with a gammy leg or to hold a door open. Who would risk doing that with an iPad or Kindle?
- They are tactile. Dog ears, like them or loathe them, they are easily done. Turning a page feels good. Slow but inexorable progress towards the end. You can sense the end of a good book and slow down to make it last 🙂
- They are reasonably cheap and can be very cheerful. Get lost in the world of words and escape to a comfortable familiar place, anytime, anyplace, anywhere.
- Care free escapism – you might not like to lose a book but it’s way better than losing an iPad!
- Books are accessible to the masses. Either by virtue of the price or through libraries.
So there. That is why I don’t believe that the paper based book will disappear anytime soon. I may be wrong but something tells me that I won’t be.