Print is Dead

Dr. Egon Spengler – Visionary

Remember all the tumult and furor generated when humankind moved from cave paintings to stone tablets, and again to scrolls before settling comfortably on bound-paper books? No? Well, I don’t either, but I’m sure it was quite a to-do at the time.

If Moses had carried the commandments down from the mountain on a Kindle or Nook, we might have ended up with 15 commandments instead of ten (as Mel Brooks suggests in his movie, History of the World, Part I ). Considering the struggle we have with the ten we know about, perhaps it’s for the best.

Nonetheless, when technology puts on her running shoes, it’s no use protesting we just got here and begging to stay a while longer. Organisms must adapt or die.

In many ways, I hate to see the book go, but that’s just the romantic in me. As an author, I can say there is something about seeing your own book in print. You also never forget the first time someone asks for your autograph on something besides a speeding ticket.

As a reader though, I love my Nook. I can carry an entire library with me. The e-reader weighs no more when it contains hundreds of books than when it contains one. It automatically marks my place in each book I’m reading. The text is searchable. I can change the font size. I don’t even have to leave the comfort of my own home to find and download a book. When I find a book I want, it’s about twenty percent of the cost of its paper counterpart. That’s only the beginning. These things have features galore. In virtually every respect, e-readers leave books in the dust.

Print may not be dead just yet, but it’s not “getting better,” to borrow a line from Monty Python. What’s your view?

Author: Stephen Hise

Stephen Hise is the Evil Mastermind and founder of Indies Unlimited. Hise is an independent author and an avid supporter of the indie author movement. Learn more about Stephen at his website or his Amazon author page.

11 thoughts on “Print is Dead”

  1. Love print books, and I had absolutely no interest in ever getting an e-reader. Then I got a kindle for Christmas, and I haven't bought a print book in ten months.

    I figure if I can be swayed, a lot of people can be swayed.

  2. I'm not sure I believe bound books will disappear any time soon. Not everyone you hand an ereader to becomes a believer. My daughter, for instance, doesn't like them at all. Won't use my Kindle and isn't interested in owning one. My son breaks them, so I'm sticking with dead tree books for him especially. I'm a convert. I haven't bought a bound book in well over a year, but I have 3 'pages' of books on my Kindle. It's possible that because the growth of ebooks is exploding that print books will be harder and harder to come by inexpensively, and people will be forced to choose an ereader. It'll certainly be interesting to see how it all unfolds.

  3. I thought I would never own an e-reader but I bought a Kindle with my first royalty check and I am in love! I take it with me to appointments, camping, to class when I am giving an exam. It's nice to be able to enjoy all of the great Indie titles. I only wish that more mainstream authors would get on board with the cheap e-books. Most of the time, the e-books are more expensive than the paperback so I end up ordering the paperbacks from Amazon in that case 🙂

    1. Shay, you brought up something very interesting there. I wonder if, in those instances you noticed that the e-book was more expensive than the paperback, it might be the result of some previously little-attended codicil in the contract between the publisher and the author. Anybody know?

      1. I don't, but like you, Steve, I have always wondered why the "famous" authors' e-books are so much more expensive and for some, they don't have any e-books at all (J.K Rowling only has two HP books available on Amazon if I'm not mistaken).

        My Kindle has allowed me to enjoy reading more. I pay less for e-books and I don't have to leave my house to buy one. Like Cathy stated, I have read more books in the past 8 months than ever before!

  4. As a reader I'm an e-reader convert. There is nothing not to like – the cost, the accessibility, the storage capacity and, most importantly, the fact that I can read in bed with the light out, thus ensuring that my wife can slumber in peace – see, good for my health too.

    As a writer, I do still look proudly at my book on the bookshelf – it gives me a much greater buzz than seeing it on a list!

  5. It’s what you’re used to. I grew up with LPs, moved onto cassettes and then CDs. Now I have a digital music collection but I don’t feel the same attachment to the digital music as I do to the tangible products. I remember where and when I bought most of these and there is a sentimental attachment to most of the albums. I can’t see me getting all soppy about downloading a file – ever. And books are the same. I was an early adopter of an e-reader – I’ve had a Rocket eBook since 1998 – and I like the idea of the e-book but a black box filled with files simply doesn’t compare to the feeling I get when I was into my office and sit there surrounded by packed bookcases. I will persist with the Kindle despite its limitations and will no doubt upgrade somewhere along the line to a tablet which seems to be the way to go but I’ll leave it up to the next generation to love books purely as an experience.

    1. I agree, Jim. For me, print is slowly retreating as ebooks take center court. But there is an attachment established to things physical, such as a record album, a book and even a printed photograph (as opposed to those on digital photo frames).

  6. I have to agree with Mr. Murdoch. My wife has an e reader and i tried to read one of my favorites on it. The story was just as good, but the nostalgia wasn't there. When I am too lazy to go to the store or library and too tired to talk my wife into going for me, I find myself staring at the bookcase. That is when the old dogeared paperbacks and smelly oil stained hardbacks I have read and reread call to me. It's like holding an old friend. I am sure that like my father and everyone else before me I will come around. However, even after I am dragged into this next era of the written word I am sure that when an e book grabs me, I will find myself buying the actual book if it is available. Remember people are collectors, and you can't admire your files.

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