I have been a reader, writer and collector of books for more decades than I want to admit. So with the digital age pushing e-books and devices on which to read them, the demise of the print book was imminent.
Or was it?
I silently cheered for the print book because it was a part of who I was. Something about the touch and feel of a printed book was comforting. But I too was a computer geek, having written my articles and print books on none other than a Mac or iPad for years. So I accepted its departure, knowing in some small way, I had played my part in the death of the printed book.
Around about 2012, you know, when we finally found out the world was not flat, everyone had either a Kindle, a tablet or access to some electronic device on which to read books. So there we were in 2012 (don’t quote me on the exact date as the statistics vary). The announcement came – that e-book sales had finally surpassed that of the print version.
Good bye, printed book, I will miss you.
My grandchildren’s children will come to museums and ask, “Mommy, what is that?” To which my descendant would reply, “That’s a book. It was printed on paper for hundreds, possibly thousands of years before it was completely eliminated by 2015.”
But fast forward to 2017. Now for sure we know the world is not flat and everyone over the age of 5 owns an e-device. So, let’s check the statistics again. Surely there are no more books being printed on paper.
We have come of age – the electronic age.
Print books have once again surpassed the sales of e-books? Is this a misprint? I thought I was the only one who still (quietly) favored the printed paper copy to the e-version on my device. Turns out I am not alone and for good reason. The biggest one is probably this – so many of us spend countless hours a day staring at computer screens as part of our job, that the last thing we want to do is come home at night, crawl into bed and cuddle up with a hard, cold computer screen. But a book? It’s like an old friend that has been waiting all day to reconnect.
So what about cutting down trees? Controversial as the subject may be, I will address it. If there is one thing I know about trees – they like to grow. Where I come from, reforestation can happen over a couple of weeks. Yes, I said weeks. The lawn in my parents back yard, if left uncut for a few weeks, will have multiple saplings growing, some of which can be up to 1 1/2 feet high. Left to itself, the lawn would become a shrub in just one season. When my great grandfather planted the hedge between the property and the road, little did he know that almost 80 years later, he would have created a mini-forest with some trees reaching more than 30 feet high. In my lifetime alone, I have seen the forest reserve near our home town, replenish itself to maturity twice after being wiped out first by forest fire and then later logged (using ethical logging methods, of course!) Today, you still can’t see the trees for the forest! 😉
So, why have we made this abrupt about-face? There are many reasons, the Huffington Post spells it out perfectly here.
Whether you are a fan of viral Youtuber, Tai Lopez or not, he has arguably one of the largest online book clubs in the world. Even though he downloads digital versions to his iPhone, he still purchases the print books because he more partial to them than their electronic rendition. He says, “… even with all this technology I still prefer good old fashioned books.”
Another of my peers, Markus Rothkranz, creates both digital and print depiction of the books he writes. He too, feels there is something special about holding and feeling an actual book in your hand that is missing in its electronic counterpart.