Are printed books destined to eventually die out?
That e-books have surged in popularity in recent years is not news, but where they are headed – and what effect this will ultimately have on the printed word – is unknown. Are printed books destined to eventually join the ranks of clay tablets, scrolls and typewritten pages, to be displayed in collectors’ glass cases with other curious items of the distant past?
And if all of this is so, should we be concerned?
Answers to these questions do not come easily, thanks to the variability in both e-reading trends and in research findings on the effects (or lack thereof) that digital reading has on us. What we do know, according to a survey conducted last year by Pew Research, is that half of American adults now own a tablet or e-reader, and that three in 10 read an e-book in 2013.
Although printed books remain the most popular means of reading, over the past decade e-books have made a valiant effort at catching up.
It seems, for now anyway, both forms will be around to enjoy.