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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Monique Keiran: Printed books thrive in digital age | Times Colonist - Opinion

"I recently interrupted Nature Boy while he was reading. Remarkably, he wasn’t reading from his laptop or phone. He was reading a printed book" reports Monique Keiran, Times Colonist.

Photo: Storyblocks.com

The item in question was typical of many such devices used during the past five centuries to share ideas and information across time and distances.

You might recognize the technology from yesteryear or the annual Times Colonist book sale. It comprised many sheets of paper printed with text and bound and glued into a light-cardstock cover decorated with pictures and more text.

In recent years, tech-pundits have pronounced (and others have lamented) print books obsolete — alongside cassette tapes, vinyl LPs, photographic film and office doorknobs. Digital books and e-book readers broke publishers’ grip on commercial and trade-book publishing. They allowed anybody with a computer, technical know-how and a story to reach the masses.

The advancing e-tide seemed inevitable.

Yet data from the Association of American Publishers indicate print books’ obituary was published prematurely. In 2016, sales of print books in the U.S. increased by 3.3 per cent, while e-book sales declined even further than the 14 per cent drop noted in 2015.

According to Pew Research, even in the e-book-devoted U.S., 65 per cent of readers perused a paper book the year before, while only 28 per cent read an e-book. Print’s popularity has remained steady since 2014. It is attributed to older consumers who refuse to let print go and younger consumers who seek the tactile pleasures of owning and sharing analog tomes.

This ties into other trends for retro, pre-digital technologies among younger generations. Last Christmas, U.S. recording artists and labels saw a 140 per cent increase in cassette-tape sales over the previous year, while ICM Unlimited reports almost half of the buyers of vinyl records in 2016 were 35 or younger...

...future of books will bring. What we do know is that reports of the death of printed books are greatly exaggerated.

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Source: Times Colonist


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