Future of Books

With the new fancy e-book readers out it’s hard to resist the urge to buy one! I was chatting with a woman at an SLA event last night about the future of books. She told me that her kids (25 and younger) did not read. She had read to them their entire childhoods and none of them were readers. She worried that books as she knows them are going to go away. I told her I didn’t think so – there’s something about the smell and feel of a book that will keep people wanting to hold a book in their hand. That said I think that e-book readers are amazing tools that will serve a great role in providing research titles. Roy seems to agree:

One of the most interesting findings from my perspective, since it validates something I’ve been saying for years, is that they overwhelmingly prefer print books “when reading the whole book or extensive sections.” Comments included statements like “e-books are better for research and quick reference, print books better for cover-to-cover reading,” and “e-books are easier to search,” while “print books are easier to read”.

They also preferred, but by a much smaller margin, print books as being “generally easier to use for most of my research.” This finding, however, I suspect is a symptom of the relatively small percentage of books that are available as electronic books. As e-books become more widely available this particular finding could reverse. But again, the preference for print when reading the entire book may still factor into this statistic.

[update] for a bit of related humor see Stephen’s post on eBook Humour [/update]

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