Does Print Have a Future?
The continued closure of bookshops and libraries across the UK and the resultant job losses makes for some grim reading. It is also rather ironic as book sales are steadily rising. In comparison to the noticeable decline of feature films and music albums, books seem to have a bright future. But with the increasing popularity of E-Books does the printed word have a future? E-books are great for many things: they save massive production costs for publishers and are also easy for readers to access and search. They also seem to appeal to some people who might not be natural bookworms. The downside is individual E-books are usually so cheap that it does not produce a great profit for authors and publishers. Some readers think E-books take away a certain pleasure in reading. I prefer E-books if I’m scouring for references or information in an anthology, but they do not appeal to me for reading novels or poetry. E-books are definitely here to stay, but I think print has a bright future too. There are so many types of books we love: the coffee table book, the dog-eared paperback, the shiny hardback on the bookshelf. It’s hard to imagine these books disappearing, and I don’t think they will. It would be a terrible shame if Waterstones went into administration or had a revamp that made it look like the now almost bookless WHSmith. However, retail booksellers do have some thinking to do; like many readers I buy most of my books on Amazon or AbeBooks. What’s the point of paying full market price when you can find pulp collectibles online sometimes for only a few pounds? But lately I’ve found myself wandering into bookstores and libraries and thinking it would be a shame if this community-based immediate contact with books was lost.
E-books and print complement each other quite well. I hope both will thrive.