Ebooks vs. Books: Who Wins?
Since the dawn of the Internet, millions of people have left physical books behind for ebooks and other forms of digital reading. Why? The physical advantage of being able to store multiple titles in one device.
Since Project Gutenberg’s first electronic versions of the Bill of Rights, U.S. Constitution, and Bible, the advent of Ebooks has dramatically impacted the world of modern readers.
But while Ebook sales have grown rapidly, and will continue to do so, there is still a strong case for the future of printed books.
Photo by pure julia
Ebooks vs. Books: A Brief Timeline
Egyptian papyrus rolls
Written on papyrus rolls, Egypt’s Book of the Dead became the first bestseller.
Printing Press Early Era
By 1500 over 9 million books were printed. From then on, all of Europe took to the book.
Growth Era of Books Education and Literacy
A power shift from printers to booksellers, publishers, and authors, saw massive growth.
Modern Print Publishing
Mass production, binding, book clubs, copyright, literary agents, universities..
Ebooks for Sale
Bibliobytes, the internet’s first financial exchange network, begins selling Ebooks online.
Firsts for Ebooks
1998 saw Ebook reading devices come to market, ISBNs, and libraries providing Ebooks.
Amazon launches it’s Kindle Ebook Reader revolutionizing worldwide sales of Ebooks.
Ebooks vs. HardCover
U.S. sales of Ebooks surpass hardcover books.
With specific uses for both Ebooks and Books, the near future predicts peaceful coexistence.
Will Books Become Obsolete?
A short answer: Probably Not in our lifetimes.
One big reason is education.
Schools, college’s, and universities all over the world still use printed books. Total global book sales are expected to go up 1.8% by 2030. Largely in part due to academic publishers catering to the vast market of medical, professional, and technical education. Globally: Non-educational book sales are small compared to the educational market.
Another reason is because of Covid, people picked up books and started reading again.
Books Feel Good
Books feel good in your hands. I’m guessing that many of those people enjoyed the physical sensation of turning a page. This act, of turning pages, differs from the meager swipe or an auto page turn or page flip. Some people rest their thumb and index fingers at the top of pages while reading. Some down at the bottom. Some turn pages rather fast and some turn pages with a long, slow swirl as the paper meows across the margin to its sweet landing, revealing the next page. These beloved behaviors are part of the human experience while reading a printed book and reinforced with every pleasurable page turn.
Photo by Annie Spratt
Books Smell Good
Besides the joy upon fingertips while turning pages, every printed book comes with its own personal smell. Endless combinations of paper, ink, and binding materials offer a multitude of intriguing scents, usually to the delight of the olfactory system. Some people crave the whiff of a freshly printed book. Some folks prefer the aroma of the breaking down of cellulose and lignin in an old book.
Printed books feel and smell good. I don’t know why, exactly. They just do.
Photo by David Lezcano
Ebooks are Amazing
- You can keep a portable library in one device.
- You can change fonts.
- The price of downloading an Ebook is much less than buying a stand-alone book.
These aspects of Ebooks have won over a majority of book buyers. And while printed paper has for centuries been the standard form of gathering information, the digital world has brought us audiobooks, Ebooks, and video, all in a short period of time. These digital formats are superior to their analog versions; books on tape, cumbersome tomes, point-and-shoot cameras, in the sense of their environmental footprint.
—(not counting the dangerous impact of the sum total of millions of web servers emanating heat around the globe 24/7). On that issue, I can’t say which is worse, analog or digital. But..
At the end of the day
All things considered, I think it’s safe to say that the printed word isn’t going away anytime soon.. There’s still too many of us who love reading books!
Banner Image by Dollar Gill