Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Gifts and the Future of Books

It is Christmas Day, 2010, and all around the world people are unwrapping their Christmas gifts.  A very considerable number of these gifts will be e-readers or tablet computers.   The recipients of these gifts will, in turn, download a large number of e-books, magazines, newspapers and other products being offered for these new devices.  The New York Times took note of this phenomenon in an article titled "Christmas Gifts May Help E-books Take Root."
There seems to be little question that the growing availability of tablet and e-reader devices, coupled with the increased availability of books in electronic format on the internet, will drive a major shift in reading habits all over the world.  The local press here in Korea has taken note, as in the Chosun Ilbo article entitled "Print Publishers Find New Life Through Tablet PCs."  The embedded illustration accompanied that article (click to see a larger version).
So far, I've held off on purchasing a tablet-sized device.  Although the form factor of the iPad is appealing, I still consider it too heavy as a reader.   However, I'm sure that as costs continue to come down and these devices become lighter in weight and with more features, I'll become a user.  The question of whether I will use such a device to read books has already been answered.  In fact, the majority of books I've read in recent years, along with magazines, newspapers and academic journals, have appeared on my computer screen.   I'm sure this is true for most of you who read this blog.

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