There was a time I never would have considered preferring a digital version of a book over a physical version. I’m still somewhat resistant to the idea. But with the advent of the Kindle and my continued lack of bookshelf space, I’m quickly warming to the idea. And, to be honest, I’ve begun to wonder if it’s actually the “greener” way of life.
As much as I enjoy holding a book in my hands and being able to flip through the pages, think of all the trees we’d be saving if everyone were reading digital versions of their books instead? It’s kind of mind-boggling if you think about it and I’m definitely all for whatever we can do to stop the destruction of the Earth.
But how does an author sign a digital copy of his or her book? And where will we get that sense of wonder when we pick up a beautiful book. I think it’s all mental but I love running my hand over the outside of a book in anticipation of what I’m about to read. It’s like holding an entire world in the palm of your hands and, though I don’t own a Kindle (yet), I can’t imagine it will ever evoke the same feelings as an actual book.
That said, my own personal opinion is the music industry took such a hard hit from the Internet not because it led to stealing but because it was re-defining their marketplace and they didn’t want to adapt. But you have to. People worry that the e-book will be the death of books. Well, it may eventually lead to the extinction of physical books but that’s only one representation of a book. I think the publishing industry is doing a decent job of adjusting to the changing marketplace. It’s going to take longer for digital versions of books to replace the real things. Certainly much longer than it took digital sharing to replace CDs. Still, I’m’ fairly confident the day will come that more people are sporting Kindles (or similar technology) in their back pockets than paperbacks. Both because it’ll give them access to multiple books and because it will end up being the smarter solution.
In the meantime, I still buy books like they’re going out of style… and despite knowing that I’m probably spending just as much on them as I would a Kindle, I’m not quite ready to take the $350 plunge yet.
What about you? Does the idea of e-books appeal to you or will the future have to drag you there kicking and screaming?