I was going to write an article like this about a year ago, but I still saw people reading physical books once in awhile. I go to places like Starbucks, Coffee Bean, and Dunkin Donuts (when I’m outside of Southern California). In the past month, I have been able to count how many times I have seen somebody read a physical book that’s not a school textbook: 23!! I never thought this low number would be possible just seven years ago.
Is the physical/paper-back book industry completely dead? Not really. Will it become dead soon? Perhaps. From what I’ve seen, more than half of people reading books were doing so on an iPad. Some were using an iPad Air, others an iPad Pro. I was shocked how many were still using the iPad mini. There were some people reading books on their laptops, and others on their iPhones. Kindle readers are still popular, especially among the older folks. But do these electronics cheapen the reading experience? Do they take the fun out of traditional reading?
In a way, I think so. When I used to read books, there was nothing like having the actual thing in my hand. I was able to write, highlight, and take notes. Yes, you can do this with the iPad or higher-end Kindles, but not the same way you can with a physical book. And physical books are also the easiest on your eyes, although Amazon’s Kindle does a great job of mimicking text written in a book.
However, an electronic device that stores all your books in also a lot more convenient. You can store more than 1,000 books on a kindle, and far more on an iPad. Having all your reading material on a device that weighs a pound or less is extremely convenient. How many times, especially in the physical book days, do you remember going out and having a hard time deciding what book you wanted to bring? How many times have you lost or replaced your books? Now, that isn’t a problem unless you lose your digital device, which is something you likely won’t do since you paid so much for it.
I, as well as others, may not like the fact that digital books are taking over. But we have to get with the times. In ten years, physical books may be considered antiques.