The arrival of the Internet as a mainstay of modern life was confirmed in the early 1990s when the idea of electronic reading devices was first brought to our attention. The idea of an electronic reading device is not a new one and has a history dating back to the 1940s, but it was the arrival of Amazon’s Kindle that made all the difference in changing the way we read. This is not to say the physical book has lost its place in the market, but the publishing and library industries have been fighting a battle to keep up with demand ever since.
E-books are just the latest sign of the changing world around us where instant gratification is something we all crave. Looking back to 2011 and 2012, John Grisham released a new novel and “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” was still high on the list of popular titles library users were waiting to read. The latest John Grisham novel may have only been sold to a local library as a single copy but multiple users may be waiting to read it. By 2018, U.S. libraries have been digitizing content to allow readers the chance to explore their own choices without the long wait for a book to be returned to the library.
Academic book sales remain high despite the switch to digital versions to be rented or purchased by students wishing to lower their costs. However, Books Run offers a marketplace for selling used textbooks and has proven especially popular with students looking to make money through sales and purchase textbooks at a lower price. One of the main reasons for the lack of takeup among academic circles for electronic textbooks is the simple fact a paper textbook can be highlighted, written in, and searched through with ease.
In the early days of the mainstream development of the Internet and the E-reader, the public was told the traditional publishing industry would be obsolete within a few short years. However, the publishing industry has seen a resurgence in its sales as many readers want the physical sensation of holding a traditional book and keeping it for years to come. The convenience of the E-book initially saw a huge boost to electronic sales but recently the sales of electronic downloads have fallen by 17 percent and physical books have seen a five percent boost in sales.
The rise of the E-book has made us question how and why we read books. One of the most popular parts of reading is being able to share a beloved book with our friends and family. Purchasing a traditional book allows us to read it and hand it on to a family member without the problem of having to continually purchase a new copy for every person we wish to share the book with. Removing the physical nature of books from our lives also limits the passage of books along the chain of readers who may want to purchase a used copy from a bookseller for a discount price. Used book specialists, such as Books Run would not be able to complete their important role in the book reading community without the continuation of the traditional publishing sector.
One question we are not addressing when questioning the battle between E-books and traditional books is the effect the use of E-readers is having on our children. Throughout our formative years, we are being told to read books to make sure we are expanding our vocabulary and creating a community of lifelong readers. The rise of E-readers is a confusing aspect of life for many children who see their parents and carers glued to a phone or E-reader screen each day instead of holding a book.
Books can become much more than simply an item we love for their contents, a book can be a tangible link to the history of ourselves and the human race. A beloved book can become a treasured family heirloom passed from generation to generation, but this cannot happen when books are read and stored Online through an E-reader or mobile device.
The E-book and E-reader will maintain their place in the technology of the world in the coming decades, but few readers are now looking to digitize their entire library as Amazon once hoped. E-books will command a place in our lives for their ability to lower costs for schools and students at a college who often feel they are little more than a cash cow. However, the print book industry shows little sign of failing as was once expected by industry experts.