In 2014 it is pretty obvious that ebooks are displacing at least some paper books, with paperbacks being the most affected. But that wasn’t always the case.
Back in 2009, one blogger writing fortook a contrary view and argued that ebooks would never replace the paperback. Mike Cane dug that post up today and I wanted to share it with you (just to show you how much has changed):
As a science enthusiast and gadget geek, I will generally move towards any new piece of everyday technology that makes life a little closer to the hyper-futuristic 21st century envisaged by the sci-fi writers of a few decades back. (In an ideal world, these bits of technology will also make life a little easier, more convenient and fun to boot.)
Because where books are concerned, my luddite alter ego wins out. Although it seems like a combination of electronics, sleek gadgetry and a well-written book would satisfy both the book fan and the tech fan in me, I’ll take a real paperback novel over a digital e-book reader every time.
I can read a real book anywhere I like, far from a mains power supply and with no concerns about when my laptop battery is going to run out or my digital book reader will need a recharge. I can take a seven quid paperback with me on the train, read it on the bus, even brandish it in the street without much worry about it being nicked – I can’t say the same of a digital reading device worth two hundred pounds.
Leaving aside the hilariousness of redundant phrases like “digital e-book reader”, isn’t it amazing how much has changed?
It’s 4 years later (minus 6 months) and pretty much every objection raised in the article is irrelevant. eReaders don’t cost 200 pounds, no one is seriously worried about them being stolen, lost, or damaged, and battery life long stopped being an issue now that more people read on their smartphones than on ereaders.
On a related note, this is the problem with making any tech predictions for more than 6 months out. Odds are they won’t come true.