Are Books on the Way Out?
Books have been around for centuries. Ever since the invention of the printing press, they have been widely accessible to readers. People who love books like the way they look and smell, the noise they make, and are happy to spend hours in a bookstore browsing.
However, books require paper and paper is made from felled and pulped trees. And as greater parts of the rainforest disappear, paper becomes more expensive and more exclusive. Recycled paper is now being used in notebooks, diaries, packaging, boxes and other objects, but not so much in books. Another paradox is that a lot of items made of or with recycled paper are more expensive than new stationary! Is it because recycling is trendy? Are recycled goods considered more stylish?
The main reason, however, for change in this sector is once again technological advancement and electronic text. Books are bulky and take up space. Obtaining electronic versions of books and storing them on your hard disc is both effective and efficient. Tablets and smart phones are light. They weigh the same regardless of the number of books you might have stored in them. All you need to do is click on a file and there is your book, click again and get the page you need and so on. You must admit, it is very tempting. You can have a complete library that weighs nothing and requires no bookcases.
Even adults who are not natives of technology seem to have made the transition and proudly go around with their laptops that contain the equivalent of extensive libraries.
Is this a sign that the natives, in other words young people, will soon regard books as relics of a different time?
And yet, nobody seems quite ready to give up completely on hard copies or pen and paper. It might be a matter of habit or instinct. Books do not require electricity to be read. Pen and paper are more affordable than electronic gadgets and more widely available. They are also portable, if heavier and bulkier and sometimes easier to use, especially if there is very little space, as for example, legroom between seats on a plane!