Saturday, 30 October 2010

Good News for Books

I have been concerned about the demise of the book for a while. Throughout my time at university my lecturers were continually telling me that the age of the physical book was limited and that before long we would all be reading e-books on various contraptions (the kindle, nook, i-pad etc). Similarly, when I completed a publishing short course with the Publishing Training Centre, industry proffessionals all talked of the end of the book as we know it. Although I refuse to think that I will ever be reading books on a kindle or any other technical paraphernalia, I was rather concerned that soon I would be unable to add to my ever expanding book collection, and book shops would become a thing of the past.

However, this week Publishers Weekly revealed statistics that suggest the physical books are not loosing popularity to the same extent I first feared. In research of students, 74% insisted they preferred print, and only 13% had purchased an e-book within the past three months, of that 13% over half (56%) did so because it was a requirement of their course. And the facts get better, only 8% of students own an e-reading device, furthermore 59% of students who didn't own a device have no intention of buying one in the future. It seems to be that the death of the book has been somewhat exagerated, and thank goodness.

 I dread the day when rather than perusing a bookshelf, we flick through an electronic device. Imagine there being no libraries, instead just an online database. No fusty old books, no treasured, battered old editions that get passed round the family. As far as I am considered, the death of the book would be a crisis for literature as we know it.

Keep buying books!!!

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