So lately the trend of replacing everything with an electrical device has become the norm. From putting Android run mini pc’s into our fridges to automating our vacuum cleaners. Our world constantly changes the way we do things on a daily basis to try to make everything easier and simpler.
Yet one of the most, often presumed, techno-phobic people, seem to be in for one of the biggest changes in the last couple thousand years. We are in the middle of a once in a lifetime change from reading on paper, to reading on either a LCD display or the more popular e-ink display. Some of you may not think of this as much of a big change compared to the other technological achievements in modern life, however, just think back to the creation of the book, or should I say, the first written word. It doesn’t matter what it was written on or in which language. The first words written onto a wall or floor were the first time in our history as a species that we could be understood a thousand or more years later, the first time stories of old could pass down in the written tongue from several generations dead. It’s also a sign of when our intelligence reached the level of understanding that got us into a civilized society today. The written word and the book have been around longer than all of the famous family names and longer than any civilization could ever last.
This change could be for worse or better. I myself swapped to a kindle over two years ago now, and I personally have never looked back. I love reading, I find it much more entertaining when on long journeys than any mini game on my phone. The art of writing is something, most of your can probably tell, I haven’t quite mastered yet. It is however something I aspire to do some time in my life, most people say that there is a book in everybody. In my case that book involves marines, spaceships and humans fighting for their lives.
Amazon are one of the biggest players in this modern turnover from paper to e-ink. They made e-readers affordable to buy, created and still manage a huge array of books to download at a moments notice and have even given the lowly hobbyists like me the chance to publish our work without jumping through the traditional publishers rule book. They’ve made the first big step of making ebooks big business. Today, publishers around the world hate that word, ebooks. They’ve struggled to keep up with an ever-changing world, and why should they. For thousands of years these publishers have printed, copied or hand written people’s work to sell it to the masses. It most likely started with the monks writing hundreds of copies of bibles in the old church days. This is where words came from stone carvings and highly wealthy kings to the common folk in the streets. This is now what is happening with the e-book industry.
Two years ago I paid £149 for my 3G kindle with keyboard. Sounds like a lot, right? Now you can walk into a Waterstones book shop and buy the latest kindle for £69. A massive difference in price. The ordinary kindle 2 years ago was still at £110 at the time and often put people off. With Barnes & Noble now also competing in price with their latest drop in price, we’ll start to see even more people reading ebooks rather than paper.
Not that for a second I think paper books will disappear over night. Some people love the feel or smell of these proper books and often complain that the ebooks don’t give them the same satisfaction as paper. I can understand that, I myself love the look of books on a bookshelf, so much so that I still only buy Bernard Cornwell books on paper so I can have a wall collection of all his work.
No virtual bookshelf or book itself will ever replace these simple delights but for the masses, I believe ebooks do the job of a book much better. No change in weight depending on what you read, no chances of paper cut’s or of damaging the book if you drop the device. Yes, you have to buy an e-reader if you want the proper experience but with modern smartphones and tablets, getting your favourite book in front of you has never been easier. You can even read them on a laptop or pc but that really isn’t the comfiest position for most of us.
As you can see, the e-book revolution is on its way. For good or bad, we are all in for a change that hasn’t really occurred on this sort of scale since paper was stuffed and bound into a book, many hundreds if not thousands of years ago. This is a change that everybody should be aware of. When our children grow up today and ask, why do we still use paper for books. We can tell them why, but more importantly, we can embrace this modern technology to help further educate the world.
Image thanks to www.Guardian.co.uk