Print books are dead!

“Print books are dead, Mom,” said my son in a recent phone conversation. Lest you think this mother raised a fool, Daniel is Dr. Lewis, with a PhD in English, and teaches that at college level. He loves books. He begged me to teach him to read at the age of three.

Daniel and his wife, Sarah, in Ireland.

But he’s also a member of the first generation to be raised with video games, which led to personal computers, CDs, DVDs, cell phones, DVRs, and eReaders . He’s fully ensconced in the digital age. As my son says, “Digital is faster, easier, and cheaper.” I can’t argue with that. I have a Kindle and I read a lot of books on it.

That’s not to say I don’t still love the feel of a “real” book in my hands. And I confess that print books still seem more substantial to me. More important. As I said in a previous post, once again I’m dependent on public library borrows for most of my books, and though they have access to some eBooks through Overdrive, most of the books I’m looking for are not among them.

So print books are still very much a part of my life. But are they a part of yours? Will print books be less important to the current generation of children and mere old-fashioned curiosities to the next? What form do you favor now?

I’ve taken a poll on this topic twice before, so let’s update again. If you’re reading this through email or a blog reader and don’t see the poll, PLEASE click through to vote.

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20 thoughts on “Print books are dead!

  1. For myself I favor print books. My adult children have e-readers and so do their kids. Youngsters read print when given them at school only.

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  2. I still see people everywhere with print books. Coffee shops, doctor’s office, etc, with print books. More so than e-readers. But maybe that’s just ’cause I notice print books more than an e-reader.
    If I have the choice I preffer print. To tell you the truth, mainly I borrow e-books from my library. I’ve only bought about two or three e-books ever. I like reading on my iPad, but I tend to reserve that for fluff, books I can plough through. Books that have meaning to me, I want in print. For some reason e-books are a quicker less profound read for me.
    As for my kids, they’re still young, but I’ve tried to give them e-books and neither wanted anything to do with them. They are strictally print book. But I think that’ll likely change in a few years.

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      1. Yes, I definilty think it’s an area thing! I live in a historical neighborhood & it takes specific personalities that buy these eclectic old houses! 🙂 The type that will prefer print books over e-books (and hand knight accessories & homemade jams–you get the idea :)). Just in our small area there are two books stores–that says a ton!!

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  3. As a musician, every book I use is in print version. The heavy formatting requirements of music, and the need to see a much larger “picture” on the music stand make eReaders unusable.

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  4. I’ve actually not read an entire book on the Kindle yet. I’ve started many and for a variety of reasons, don’t get far. It’s not entirely about electronics for me, a lot of them are not my cup of tea and I don’t get past the first chapter. Then there is the electronic part where I don’t want to have to deal with batteries, and the safety of the device. Plus, I just bought a new book in print, it was NF. But we also like to buy new and used books, of all genres. In my mental imaging, a house isn’t a home if there are no books. I don’t think I’d enjoy a device that held my entire library, like a shiny food replicator from Star Trek shows.

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    1. Nowadays, I get my books where I can, Jess, but I still want print copies of books by my favorite authors—ones I’m likely to read again. And though I have some non-fiction reference books in digital, I don’t like them in that form. And even if I got eBook copies of all the print books on my shelves, I’d still keep 90% of the print. 😉

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  5. I don’t believe they are dead. I read print books, and only read digital when it’s the only way I can review a book. I work at a computer every day. Hard on the eyes. The last thing I want to stare at is another screen when I read. I prefer holding a book in my hands and reading. I know the impatient generations behind me want everything fast and instaneous, but it is not a pace I embrace. We are at a point of transition — I realize that. But, I hope there is room for both.

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    1. I do think at least some fiction will always be in print, Pat. Some of the genres may shift fully to digital though. I do like to rest my eyes from the back-lit computer screen though and that’s why I like my plain old Kindle. After a few seconds, I forget I’m looking at an electronic screen.

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  6. My wife and I read only print books. My daughters, who have grown up in the digital world, read both print books and e-books. If they have a preference, it seems they favor print books.

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  7. I mainly read prints. If I read digital, it’s because the book is from an indie or small press author who either doesn’t have it in print or the prints are more expensive than traditional prices. As an author, my print sales are far better than my digital sales, even though the digital price is far lower. My 24 year old daughter, an avid reader, has an ereader but hardly uses it. She wants print. I see very few people here in my small town area with ereaders. I do see the library and bookstore very well used.

    No, it’s not close to dead. Electronic is the new fad and it’s big now but it’ll fade a bit when it’s not the new thing. My guess is that city folks are more likely to read electronic, but the rest of us, and that’s a very large number, are not nearly as fond of it.

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    1. From what I’ve heard, LK, it’s very unusual for indie print sales to be better than digital. Mine are definitely the reverse. You’re probably right that there’s a difference between city and suburban/rural preferences, but that may change with time. I think digital books are here to stay. But I’ll enjoy the print books I have. 🙂

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  8. Yours will be the first book I read that isn’t print. How about that? I’m old fashioned and like print books, but I expect in time we’ll all be converted over without our evening being aware of it happening. Change is often met with objection in the beginning.

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