A few weeks ago I had a fellow writer ask me a bold question:
If I had to choose, would I want to see my work published as ebooks or print books?
“Oh that…ummm…” Blank stare. Yeah.
Honestly? That’s like asking me to choose between pizza and ice cream. Uhhh, can I have both, please??
So, I got to thinking – is there a way to choose between the two? Will there ever be a time when the only books that exist are in ebook form, all printed material a thing that is merely seen in museums?
My conclusion? No. I honestly don’t think there will ever be a time when printed books are a complete thing of the past. Do we live in an age of ever growing technology where more and more of our daily lives take place in front of a computer? Absolutely. Is it likely to only continue down that road, possibly resembling something along the lines of ‘Minority Report’ or other futuristic Sci-Fi films? Yep. But printed books gone forever? I just don’t think it’s possible to ever live completely print free.
First off, we already have libraries packed with printed material. Even if our society stopped printing books today, there would still be enough available to keep libraries going for another century. (Or more.) But then there’s also the Barnes-and-Noble-Syndrome. True, many brick and mortar stores are closing, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a demand on some level, for people who desire to get away for a few hours, sit in a coffee shop with a book cracked open in their lap, talking with friends and just enjoying the beauty of sitting among thousands of thoughts and feelings placed on paper by some of the greatest authors. It’s part of our society. Something we like to do. A piece of our inner child that just wants to ‘play’ for a few hours.
And, believe it or not, there are even those that still purchase books in print just because they prefer to read those over the digital stuff. I know a few myself – friends who are more than happy to take part in the 21st Century with their iPhones, and iPads and all things technology – yet they still desire to read ink that’s been imprinted on paper. It’s a real thing. And although the numbers might be small, I do think those few will have a mighty voice, if it ever came to the question of putting printed books to the grave.
What do you think? Will there ever be a time when printed books will be a part of our history? A day when our grandkids will ask us what it was like to hold the written word in the palm of our hands? I’d love to hear your thoughts below! Feel free to share!
Happy reading, friends.