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Physical Books Dead in 5 Years?

Physical Books Dead in 5 Years: Do You Agree?

Last week at a tech conference in Lake Tahoe, California, Nicholas Negroponte, the founder of One Laptop Per Child, said that he believes physical books will be "dead" in as little as five years. Of course, there will always be books around (I'm not giving up my library card just yet), but considering the fact that digital forms of books have already outsold hardcovers, not to mention how quickly consumers are snatching up ereaders of all forms (and how easy they are to transport), I suppose it's a prediction that isn't too far fetched.

I'm a big fan of my Kindle, but there's just something about reading a real book that gives me the warm fuzzies. Do you agree with this prediction, or are you a die-hard physical book proponent?

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Join The Conversation
carolineishere carolineishere 6 years
Although I love my Nook and the ease of carrying a lot of my library in my purse, I still love the smell of a library.
blahsum blahsum 6 years
You cite two reasons that are both dubious: - Hardcover sales are not symbolic of anything. Paperbacks mark the change in the tide and they are still sitting pretty. - The Kindle might have sold out, but Amazon has yet to reveal either supply or sales numbers. And even if you talk in terms of millions, it's a small percentage when you tally the potential markets the Kindle could have sold to. Negroponte's position was more that most books would go digital, facilitating their easy moving to other countries and rural communities - a position that backs his ideas behind the OLPC. But statistically it's little more than an assumption because there is no real data to create a whole picture. If it wasn't that someone of Negroponte's stature had made this comment, I'd not even have spared a thought for it. If books were, say, implemented to read and send via mobile phones - and not just smart phones, but all brands of phones (thus engaging the most prolific electronic device on the planet) - then we have a basis for such a revolution.
Antidia Antidia 6 years
Considering all the books I read come from the library, would ebooks be available to check out, too? If not, I think books will still have a place.
Caitie64 Caitie64 6 years
I hate eReaders they suck compared to reading a good book, the feeling you get when you can see how many pages are left and how close you are to the end. Not to mention having actual books on a shelf look so much better then just that kindle or some other eReader.
bsanf3 bsanf3 6 years
It will be more then 5 years, they'll become like LPs (still made but not many). I see physical magazines going first.
RoaringSilence RoaringSilence 6 years
Thanks to clumsy people, books will always be made of paper. You just can't drop an e-reader quite so many times.
butterflywings5 butterflywings5 6 years
I hope they never stop making real books. I love stretching out in bed to read a good book. Plus I love how over crowded my bookcase looks with all the different books I've read, lol.
Akasha Akasha 6 years
I don't foresee the death of all books. Not everyone can afford an eReader and there are some people who are just anti-tech. Plus, there is something about old books that can never be replaced. I'm sure that a large slow down in the amount of books actually printed will probably happen. On the upside eReaders are allowing writer's without the support of a large publishing house to get their wares out there, and price them that people are more willing to take a chance on an unknown writer.
SkinnyMarie SkinnyMarie 6 years
I support ebooks, but I couldn't read off of that screen. I have tried with my husbands nook. It has also been found that we read slower while using an eReader, not something that many people would put up with. We also tend to not absorb as much information. The functionality of a book is also more practical then an ereader especially for informational books. I have 3 bookmarks in a instructional book that I need to quickly flip back and forth to, this isn't as easily done with on an ereader then with a book.
chequettex chequettex 6 years
I agree that books will probably become extinct, at least as far as making new books goes, but it's going to take longer than 5 years. Much longer. Lots of people visit the library (not everyone can afford to buy every book they want to read, remember??) There are still far too many people that will never give up reading real books for electronic ones. My husband is one of them, and he's only 26 now...
thecolor thecolor 6 years
I only say, "no" 'cause it will remain a hobby at least.
bengalspice bengalspice 6 years
Most publishers already store all their books digitally ... the real blockade will be figuring out the royalties, rights, and pricing situation. Until publishers find the perfect balance, physical books are going to continue to be the bread and butter of the publishing world.
millarci millarci 6 years
I really hope they don't. I love buying books! I love building up my personal library on my bookshelf. I love reading a good book on my sofa. I stare at a computer screen all freaking day long! I don't need to stare at one when I read books too.
le-romantique le-romantique 6 years
No. My parents (although I have never seen them read a book) generation will still read them. Plus, I'm 22 and LOVE them. I have an iPhone 4 and other hi-tech devices, but there is just something about a book that I could never get rid of them. Plus, Book shelves filled with books (that you actually read) is probably the most quaint and beautiful thing in a house.
AlisonMcg67 AlisonMcg67 6 years
There is something I love about lying in bed with the latest Hiaasen or Dexter book. also, if I dropped my Kindle when I fell asleep reading, it would shatter the screen.
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