Will E-Readers Eventually Replace Books?

In recent articles, we’ve broken down the major differences between e-readers and print books, comparing and contrasting them to help you decide whether an e-reader is a good investment for you. In our opinion, one medium isn’t better than the other — they’re simply two different ways to display information. E-readers are certainly more convenient in many ways, because they’re the equivalent many books in the size of just one. But print books do have their own undeniable romance, a weight and history that metal and plastic can’t seem to replicate.

However, some believe e-books are the future of our fast-paced, increasingly digital world, and will eventually replace print books almost entirely.

This report from PBS MediaShift explores the possible futures of e-books and print books, asking bookstore employees and patrons whether they think e-books and print books can exist side by side, or whether print books will eventually be replaced by their modern digital counterparts. While there’s clearly some bias toward print books simply due to the venue chosen for the interviews, the interviewees make some good points. The general consensus among them is that while there’s currently a shift toward digital reading, print books are unlikely to die out completely.

We agree that in the future, books will probably be treated much like vinyl records are today: perhaps not standard for the majority of people due to the more efficient modern storage options available, but fiercely loved and protected by collectors and aficionados. We do see most books — especially textbooks and educational texts — becoming more popular in their digital forms in the coming years, but that doesn’t mean print books will fade into obscurity completely. After all, there’s nothing like the smell of a book.

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