Are Printed Books Being Murdered?

University Of Virginia

Michael Suarez is the Director of the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia. When asked about the possibility of printed books versus the digital E-books, he stated,

“Despite lots of writing to the contrary, the book is not dead.”


Speculations have risen with statements of the printed book dying. The development of hand-held readers has those who are lovers of the printed book fretting. Thoughts are of the mass torture and death of the long loved paperbacks and hardbacks that line bookshelves. Are the thoughts just a conspiracy worked up in their minds?

courtesy of Stuart Miles  freedigitalphotos.net
courtesy of Stuart Miles freedigitalphotos.net

Statistics

Yes, maybe the digital age is hampering printed books slightly, but are they really?

We should take a good look at the statistics.

By the time this hub is published, new book titles published this year will be at 373,000. Will they all be E-books? I doubt it.

Published titles are at an all time high. Just look at the following table that is put out by Worldometers.

These figures are just a few countries. There are, of course, many more. All of these figures are gathered by UNESCO.

New Titles Published By Year and Country

(click column header to sort results)
Country  
Year  
# Titles Published  
United States
2010
328,259
United Kingdom
2005
206,000
Russian Federation
2008
123,336
Germany
2009
93,124
Spain
2008
86,300
Japan
2009
78,555

The Printed Book

Not all books that are published are in digital format. Some people prefer to relax near their swimming pool or in their easy chair flipping through the pages of a printed book. Many people are nostalgic; they just want nothing to do with newer technology.

Also consider the many forms of printed books that must be. I speak of fix-it manuals, college textbooks, and other forms of literature that will still have to be in the paperback or hardback format.

School Textbooks

Will every school start forcing the students to have digital readers? How will some families be able to afford such a device? What about it breaking. Consider this scenario:

Grant, the "bad kid" of the school doesn't want to read the book that the science teacher said has to be done over the weekend. His evil thoughts tell him to "accidentally" drop his e-reader in a mud puddle. "Teacher, I couldn't read the book about the development of a tadpole into a frog. My e-reader is broken." Now you have the expensive e-reader that needs to be replaced. Who will do it? The school or the parents.

No, textbooks are better.

Printed with Digital

Personally, I believe digital books and printed books can compliment each other.

I am not the only one.

Another technology that is taking hold uses both the traditional book and the digital version hand-in-hand. Bridging Book, developed by engageLab, uses the digital version synchronized with the printed version to give the reader an ultimate experience.This experience alone will keep printed books from their funerals and will, most likely, bolster sales.

Watch the following video:

Bridging Book

As an Author

As an author and self publisher, I sincerely hope the printed book is not on its deathbed. Yes, I also publish in the digital formats, but there is just that added excitement of seeing the publication with my name on it sitting in libraries and book stores. Watching the sales figures, the paperback versions of my books are selling at a rate that keeps a smile on my face. The digital versions are selling quite well also.

Conclusion

It is now that people need to stop whispering that the printed book is dying. Just stop at the nearest book store or library and look at the amount of people turning the pages of a book. They are not weeping as they walk in the printed books funeral procession. They are smiling and laughing, knowing there is another printed book ready to be read as soon as they finish this one.

Do You?

Do You Believe The Printed Book Is Dying?

  • No
  • Yes
  • Not Sure
See results without voting

© 2014 Greg Boudonck

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6 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Not at all; there will always be a demand for printed books. This is one tradition that will not go away.


Froggy213 profile image

Froggy213 2 years ago from On A Mountain In Puerto Rico Author

Thanks Billy. Have a great day my friend.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean

Left tome, the printed book will live on and on. It is a treasure. thank you for the facts.


Froggy213 profile image

Froggy213 2 years ago from On A Mountain In Puerto Rico Author

Thanks MsDora.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 2 years ago

I love my printed books with a passion, but I do own a NOOK and I have fallen in love with it too! I will say that I am certain my NOOK will disappear shortly, so I will either buy a Kindle or get back to the real thing. May the printed book live on forever!


Froggy213 profile image

Froggy213 2 years ago from On A Mountain In Puerto Rico Author

Thanks. Yes both are great, but long live the printed book!

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