Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Is Print Dead?

Cnnfn.com had an interesting headline this morning: Is Print Dead? it said.

Curious, I clicked on it and watched a video of Mark Cuban, of all people, talking to a reporter about whether or not he believed the end was near for print media.  Getting your news from an actual newspaper these days is a little like using an abacus instead of a calculator.  Personally, I cancelled my subscription for my local newspaper years ago for a variety of reasons.  And although the discussion with Cuban centered around newspapers and magazines, it got me thinking about books. 

Print books aren't dead just yet--hey, I just bought two this weekend: MISS YOU MOST OF ALL by Elizabeth Bass and RULES OF ATTRACTION by Simone Elkeles.  But also on my wish list is a new e-reader, although I can't decide between the Kindle and the Nook.  (Yeah, I'd love an iPad but that's not gonna happen this year.) 

Anyway, Amazon predicts its digital books could increase 84% this year.  Last Christmas, their digital books outpaced sales of their hardcover books.  The growth of digital books has been--and looks like it will continue to be--nothing short of phenomenal.  What's not to like? You get what you want, when you want it, cheaper, and usually within 60 seconds. 

While I'll probably continue to buy the occasional hardcover book, mostly because I love to visit my local bookstore, I'd say that while hardcover books are not dead they are most certainly on life support.


Sandi said...

Reading books on my Kindle took a little getting used to, but not much. Much more convenient. No going back for me now.

Jude said...

I'm not there yet. But close.

Liz Fichera said...

I felt a little bit about e-readers like I did when email first came out. I never thought I'd warm up to email either and look how that's changed!

Unknown said...

I'm holding out for the iPad. It's my birthday next month and I think I deserve one. Just have to convince my other half of that. lol

I think print is in intensive care. I hated the thought of parting with my old vinyl records (remember them?). I didn't think CDs would catch on at all. Now? I download all my music. I'm sure books will go the same way.

For those of us with e-books coming out, let's hope so, eh? :o)

Liz Fichera said...

Shirley, my bday is next month too! And I'm expecting a new e-reader. :-)

I've got a closet full of vinyl. I'm waiting until they become collector's items--some of them already are. Maybe in 10-15 years (or sooner?) we'll be saying the same thing about books.

JustJoeP said...

Try reading an electronic screen in full sunlight, at the beach, with sand, no clouds, sunscreen covered fingers, and occasional surf spray.

Try reading an electronic book during take offs and landings, below 10,000ft on a plane.

Try 'handing down' an ebook to a relative, or friend, when you are only renting it for a while, on your one device.

Hard Print will never go away. Yes, electronics will make inroads, but there is, and always will be, a need for hard copied, printed matter.

Liz Fichera said...


Great point about the beach! Sunlight is definitely a factor. Regarding travel, it's much easier for me to take my e-reader than a few books. My wallet is heavier than my e-reader. Regarding loaning books, you're obviously not an author. :-)

Totally agree that hard books will never completely disappear but I do think that with time people will grow more accustomed to the convenience of e-readers, especially as their prices come down.