I would in no way wish to denounce the printed book! There is nothing nicer than handling the tactile, that is the book. I am of a generation that has grown with printed books from school to college to Uni, to work & leisure but I am a realist that, like all of us, we are witnesses a new era where technology, like of loath), is introducing a new format that is the eBook.
In a number of ways I find this exciting in that it has opened up a new world to people who would not otherwise read books, neigh even access books in third worlds and where literacy is an important part of reading to learn, and by this learning to write!
It should not pose a threat. We have witnessed where huge companies such a HMV who maintain a stance of tradition in records and CD’s and initially would not embrace the technology that was mp3’s and when for bust because of it. The publishing industry should have already learnt its lesson when it maintained a stance of hard production print when the embryo of technology broad in Desk Top Publishing and because of that we sadly saw the major part of the print industry diminished.
ePub, ida, or whatever the format will eventually be, (again almost like the ‘70s argument of Betamax verses VHS), this increases the range and depth of books being published and opens up the exciting prospects of so much for future generations.
Both formats are here to stay but I can envisage a 22nd Century where print books in the home will became less, mostly as an aesthetic piece of décor to create a conversational piece at diner parties, (reduce space and dust cleaning), and confined to the tablet. Libraries will follow to reduce costs and able to offer a great range via a major database.
It is not what I am advocating, nor necessarily what I want – but it is the future and if both formats are to continue, they need to embrace each other and co-exist. The alternative is neither good for the publishing industry and certainly not for the ardent readers!