Nowadays, one of the hottest topics under debate in publishing industry is the E-books vs. printed books competition. While millions of people prefer continuing reading on paper, e-books are becoming more and more popular. Some people say printed books are living on borrowed time; others assure that e-books cannot compete with the magic of reading on paper. Who is right and who is wrong?
According to studies, printed book sales have declined in 14 percentage since 2008, while e-books are living a period of sales boom since 2010, with an increase of 6 percentage in 2010 and 15 percentage in 2011.
The answer to explain this phenomenon: The advance of technology. One thing is certain; just a few years ago people preferred to read on paper than from computers. Nowadays, no one can deny the enormous advance of electronic devices exclusively designed for readers. The fact is that the new e-readers offer enormous advantages, increasing the popularity of e-books.
You can read almost any document wherever you are. Most of these new devices have access to the Internet and electronic libraries, giving you the chance to download almost any book or document and to carry thousands of books in just a small and lightweight device.
Actually, the new e-readers use a technology of electronic ink where screen does not produce light as other devices such as computers, iPads and cell phones. This way, e-readers don’t hurt eyes and people can read for long hours before having eyestrain. This new technology has encouraged many people to state that screen reading is even easier than printed reading, considering the electronic ink solution, as well as the fact that you don’t have to turn the page with fingers anymore.
However, many studies and surveys suggest that printed books are still the favorites for many people most of the time; the preference depends on the situation and circumstances when reading. For example, many people prefer reading on paper when they are sharing with other adults. Many parents say that they prefer printed books to read to their kids. Without doubts, interacting with printed books can have a magic lost in electronic devices. Actually, according to publishers most of their incomes in 2011 came from printed books.
So, saying that printed books are dying is almost as naive as denying the increasing popularity of e-books. It is about taste, preferences, generations, and circumstances. E-books are perfect to travel, to store thousands of books in a small device, to have access to digital libraries with millions of documents.
Printed books offer you that real interaction with stories, the smell of printed editions, the magic of designs and pictures. What future brings nobody knows. It is not easy to predict who is going to win this “battle”, but it would be great if both formats could coexist forever. For the meantime, what do you prefer?