A “bookless” library is about to open in San Antonio, the first such library of its kind:
When the first e-readers and tablets appeared, like many I wasn’t certain they could take over for “real” books and magazines. In the time since then, that thought has been turned around completely in my mind.
The first obvious sign of the changing of the times was seeing my own decreased interest in a) reading a newspaper (I could get most of the information I desired either from TV or from the internet) and b) losing interest in going to bookstores, something that I would religiously do every few days in the pre-tablet/e-book era.
The rise of the tablets and e-books (and amazon.com) is a classic case of building a better mousetrap. Before you drove out to a bookstore and maybe found something that interested you to read. Now, you just go online from the comfort of your own home and in seconds you could buy and download something that interests you and be reading it. All in the time it would normally take you to just drive to your local bookstore.
In a related note, this semester my kids are being given laptops to use in class and the actual (very heavy) textbooks appear to be on their way out. I suspect the next generations of students will increasingly use less and less of these heavy textbooks and instead will rely more and more on laptops/tablets to disseminate knowledge. Again, I view this as a positive.
There is something undeniably sad about the fact that we may be slowly moving into an era where physical books may be relegated to memory. Reality, however, is reality.
My own personal ratio of “physical” novels sold versus “e-books” points out that the sale of e-books vastly outnumbers the sale of actual books. In part, its price: A “physical” book costs more to make and, hence, sell. You’re getting a far better bargain downloading the e-book version. Plus there is that advantage I pointed to above regarding how quickly you can get your hands on it.
So we move along, slowly discarding old technologies for (hopefully) better new ones. I still love physical books, but let’s face it…their time may have finally come.