For the past few months, we’ve seen a lot of changes in the world of publishing. The advent of affordable eReaders, eBooks becoming legitimate, established authors entering a battle for eRights on books that were published two decades ago, the closing of many bookstores.
Yet, despite all these changes, I still hear the cry “Books will never disappear!” Well, duh! Books have been part of human civilization since before the pyramids were built. What’s going to vanish is paper books. Oh, relax, all you purists. It won’t happen in your lifetime, but it will happen. Think it won’t?
How many stone tablets do you have in your library? Papyrus scrolls? Illuminated manuscripts? All of these methods were used to tell the stories people wanted to read. No, most of these formats went to only the rich. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1430’s with the Guttenberg press was invented, that paper books opened the door for the masses to have a way to read. And even this format took another 200 years before it was commonly available.
But the Computer Age…and, yes, that’s what it’ll be called…is making the change to the new format much quicker than most readers are comfortable. There still isn’t any strong evidence as to EXACTLY who is buying these new books. Probably the younger reader who grew up with the computer. I know that young professionals such as lawyers and doctors are downloading the massive libraries they need to learn and stay current in their work. And based on what I’ve been doing since I received my Kindle for Christmas, a lot of oldsters are looking into the eReader world. The fonts can be increased for aging eyes and when seeing a future in a vastly reduced living space, the option of taking a 3000 book library into an assisted living unit or nursing home.
So, one more time…eBooks and eReaders are here to stay. They’ll keep getting better and cheaper. More and more people will feel very comfortable with digital reading. And someday in the future, a first editon of A TALE OF TWO CITIES in hardcover will be a precious gift for a dear friend. But that is progress…and the human race can’t evolve without technilogical progress.