Death of the physical book…. or not….

The e-reader is a convenient way to read books without having to carry around heavy physical books. The battery life normally lasts a couple of weeks and as it is purely for reading it is not loaded down with rubbish like tablets.

The e-reader has been around for a long time, the first commercial one was released around 1998 following the development of electronic paper but at that time it was not widely adopted. The e-reader “movement” really took off when Amazon released the Kindle in 2007, over the years there were several design changes in each generation, the earlier ones having keyboards and being quite large. In 2011 the 4th generation was released in the familiar smaller package using an on-screen keyboard. This was the one that persuaded me that the time had come to move into the e-reader market.

At this time the Kindle was hailed as the slayer of the traditional print book and there were all kinds of stats that were showing that the book would be dead in x number of years. now I don’t put stock in claims like this as they rarely end up coming true and ringing in my ears were the claims that the CD would spell the end of the record, and they were still in the shops and showing a bit of a resurgence. The Blu ray would spell the end of the DVD and still films are produced on both formats. So I took no notice and continued to read on. Since having the first kindle I had to buy one of the paper light ones, (I sat on my normal one) this was a good step up as the issue I had with the old one was reading in the dark. The paper light was amazing. So it was safe to say I was a fan of this new form of reading.

But… I love reading physical books, nothing is the same as having a real book in your hands and turning the pages and since getting the kindle I have continued to buy books on both formats. In 2017 the Publisher Association put a post up that showed that e-readers were on a decline (this may just be as people already have the devices) the e-books did show an increase and the traditional print books were on the increase also, bigger than their digital versions. The physical sales were the highest increase since 2012.

Now for me, I only tend to buy books for the Kindle when they are on offer and I can get them for a couple of pounds. Physical books however I have continued to buy. My spending split between Amazon Marketplace, prime purchases and local bookshops. Even though I am trying to save money I still buy from local shops when I could purchase online cheaper, this is because it would be a travesty if traditional books shops closed and we were only left with online. I have lost count of the amount of times I have purchased books because of browsing in these shops, browsing online just isn’t the same and doesn’t have the atmosphere of a real shop. In the last couple of years the amount of physical books I have bought has risen dramatically, my “to read” list is now massive, I wonder how I will get through them. But I love reading so I soldier on.

So I guess what I am saying is the book is here to stay for a long long time. E-books will always have a place but the traditional book is much more satisfying.



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