The truth behind e-books vs. print books

First of all, major publishers have reported a decline in their e-book sales this year after enjoying impressive sales growth for years. This has introduced new uncertainties about the potential of e-books in today’s publishing industry. A Penguin executive reportedly recently admitted that the hype for e-books may have led to reckless investment, and the publisher lost confidence in “the power of the word on the page.”

Despite a growing understanding of the fact that print and digital can coexist in the marketplace, the question remains whether the e-book will “kill” the print book. Whether the intention is to predict or rule out this possibility, the possible disappearance of the book cannot be overlooked. Nor can one annul what the imagination says in this regard.

So why is this idea so powerful? Why do we ignore the evidence of the peaceful coexistence between the e-book and the printed book and speak as if the two disagree?

The answers to these questions go beyond the realm of digital books and reveal much about the cocktail of fear and excitement we feel for change. Our research talks about how the concept that one medium “kills” another has often been a harbinger of novel technologies.

Long before the advent of digital technologies, experts had predicted the demise of contemporary media. For example, when television was invented, most thought that radio would die. However, radio found new ways of survival and today people listen to it on the move and at work.

The curious case of the disappearing book is a myth, albeit an ancient one. In 1894, speculation abounded that the introduction of the phonograph, today’s audiobooks, would spell the end of the world for books.

History repeats itself, many times. Movies, radio, television, hyperlinks and smartphones – all of them were accused of conspiring to “kill” the printed book as “a source of culture and entertainment.”

It is not a coincidence, then, that every time a technological advance occurs, the idea arises that the book will die. This narrative perfectly highlights the mixture of fears and hopes that characterize our reactions to technological change.

So why are these reactions so common? To understand this, it is necessary to consider the emotional ties we create with the media and how they become an integral part of our lives. Multiple studies have shown how people foster a close relationship with everyday objects, such as books, computers, and televisions.

We even humanize them, like naming our cars or yelling at our laptops when they refuse to function normally. It is evident from this behavior that the advent of new technologies, such as electronic readers, not only indicates an economic and social change in society, but also causes us to align our relationship with things that have become a part of it. integral part of our daily life.

Guess what happens next. We find ourselves wishing for things we had but no longer have. This is the sole reason behind the burgeoning industries developed around retro products and older technologies. For example, when the printing press began to prevail in 15th-century Europe, many went to search for the original manuscripts.

Similarly, the shift from silent movies to talkies in the 1920s sparked nostalgia for the older film format. The same thing happened when the shift from analog to digital photography, from vinyls to CDs, from black and white televisions to color televisions occurred. Unsurprisingly, e-book readers sparked a new appreciation for the material quality of “old books,” including the unpleasant smell that was often disliked.

If you are still concerned about printed books disappearing from the earth’s surface, rest assured: printed books have weathered many of the waves of technological revolution and are capable of surviving it too.

That said, the myth of the disappearing environment will continue to entertain with a fun story about the transformative power of technology and man’s aversion to change. In fact, to understand the concept of change, we use the “narrative patterns” that are available and familiar, for example, the narratives of death and the end. The story of the disappearance of the media, which is easy to remember and share, reflects our excitement for the future and our fear of losing parts of our intimate world and, eventually, of ourselves.

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