The Reckoner!

Do You Think Books Made Out of Paper Will Disappear?

My father and I get into this argument regularly. Well, more of a discussion than an argument. We both concede that with the advent of the e-reader with their portability and instant access to e-books, the numbers of books published in the traditional way (paperback and hardcover) will decrease substantially. Buying a book might well become more expensive.

Where we disagree is the degree. He takes the pessimistic view (in our opinion) that within a generation or two, books as tangible objects you put on shelves and such will all but disappear, available only in specialty stores and as novelty or collector's items. Most books probably won't even be available in book form.

I believe that the numbers of books published will likely drop, but that the e-book won't turn over hundreds of years of tradition or overcome the satisfaction of a real book at the beach, in a hammock, in your reading chair, or in bed. I believe the book will ride this one out, and we'll be seeing books on shelves for years and years to come.

So Reckonauts, which of us do you side with? Will books in their current form become obsolete thanks to new technology or will they be sticking around for another few hundred years?

Reckoning Results!
Books Forever!
No screens!
Saves space!
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Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby?

Reckoning Comments!

I see paper books going the way of vinyl, in that you'll find them in specialty stores and in abundance in used book stores, but the days of the general-audience bookstore are over.  I don't really want this to happen, but I think it will.

I think what it will take is a generation of people who are accustomed to reading all of their printed material on a screen.  Hey, wait a sec, I'm part of that generation!  Well then...

Shudder to think that all the world's knowledge could be - theorectically anyway - wiped out with a single large EMP.

Though I like electronic books, for me I typically 'read' via audio books, I firmly believe that printed books are here to stay, albeit with smaller print runs and some books possible never making it to print

@Bryan Hunter

The preservation element to this completely escaped me, but you're absolutely right.  Holy smokes -- it's easy to forget how fragile electronic data can be.

Sorry, but I think books are going to go the way of the newspapers, magazines and anything else published on paper. I think we will have to pay a premium to get it in that form. Since I am a journalist, I feel sad about that!

The Reckoner!