Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Are paper-book-lovers in denial?
There’s another post from someone on FutureBook wondering, based on their personal experience, whether the e-book is going to “kill” the printed book. There’s nothing particularly special about this post—indeed, it’s only four paragraphs long, and most of what it says has been said before: e-publishing probably won’t end printed books, but might end cheap, mass-produced word containers in favor of printed-to-last objects d’art.
But what interests me about this is just how many of these particular posts we’ve been seeing over the last few months. They’ve always been with us, even from the days when the preferred e-book device (among those few who read e-books) was the Palm Pilot, But we’ve been seeing so many of them lately (and everyone posting them seems to think he’s stumbled upon some new and original insight) that it seems almost as if the e-book has finally become popular enough that paper-book-lovers are starting to go into denial. “E-books won’t kill printed books! They’ll make them better.”
Of course, it’s certainly possible e-books will lead to publishers concentrating on printed books as artifacts rather than just word containers. But it’s funny to see so many readers seemingly all grasping at exactly the same straw at once.