Paper Books Past and Future

So are paper books a thing of the past as some are warning us?  Don’t bet on it!

In a recent survey by PriceGrubber.com, 41 % of readers said they would miss aspects of reading paper books if they switched to reading e-books.

Why, you ask?  Here are the top three reasons people still love books with paper pages:

  • 36 % would miss the feel of books. (My husband Dan is among them.)
  • 13 % would miss their portability.  (That’s right. People actually like lugging them around.)
  • 13 % would miss underlining and writing notes in the margin. (No, e-notes are not the same!)

How about you?  Would you miss paper books?  Why or why not?

“I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough” bookshelves.

Anna Quindlen

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “Paper Books Past and Future

  1. Your blog banner, dear Kay, is the reason I would miss paper books. Look at all the colors, the substance as they stack together so deliciously. How can one have a bookshelf without books? What would *we* authors sign for our adoring fans if paper books ceased to exist? My books are like little trophies, reminding me of moments of escape, knowledge gained, lessons learned, dreams fulfilled. E-books, although filling a need in today’s digital marketplace, are too plain-Jane and “invisible” to evoke emotions (or gather dust). I have one piece of furniture that remains from my childhood bedroom: my bookshelf. May it always be full.

  2. What a wonderful post today. I enjoyed it very much. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Kay,
    I love the top three reasons people still love books. Though I have gone the route of e-books myself (both buying them and selling them), I still adore a print book. I’m one of those who crack open the new spine, spread open the pages, and sniff deeply for that “brand new book” smell. Kind of like a new car smell, only better!

  4. Jeanette

    I love the smell of books too! Especially really old ones. I’m so glad I’m not alone.

    So far, the only benefit that I’ve found with electronic books is the ability to increase the font size, contrast, and brightness. Recently, a friend wanted to loan me a book that she only had on Kindle so she trusted me with it for awhile. We sat in her car, playing around with the font size until I said, “Oo, that one!” and I suddenly understood why people loved them. But when I actually read the book, it didn’t feel the same. It smelled like plastic. I did not add a Kindle to my wish list.

    So yes, I would definitely miss print books. I have no problem lugging several around at a time.

    Thanks for another fun discussion.

    Have a blessed week,
    Jeanette

  5. Jean

    I’m with Dan…the tactile joys of paper, especially a beautiful hard bound book, brings joy even when I’m not reading it. However, I LOVE my Kindle. Why? It’s fantastic to pop that little thing into my bag when traveling knowing it’s filled with all kinds of “books,” and that includes yours–I have them both in paper and electronically– and don’t have to lug mountains of them with me. It’s the best of both worlds.

  6. Ian Bennett

    If you open most Bibles, you’ll notice that the text is written in columns. The sentences do not flow across the page. This is a hangover from the days of scrolls when a visible page was a thin strip nestled between two rolls of parchment. Publishers have failed at every attempt to make the shift away from columns. Whenever they try, the Bibles simply do not sell.
    If, in two millennia, we’ve been unable to transition the simple shape of the text body, it seems unlikely that we’ll manage a shift to an entirely different medium.
    Besides, a book doesn’t shatter when you drop it on the floor, it doesn’t turn off when the batteries are low, and it doesn’t break the bank when a friend borrows a book and forgets to return it.

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