January 14, 2009

Will The E-Book Kill The Book?

Chances are extremely good that if you are reading this article, you love books. Hockey books in particular, but also books in general.

Who does not like hanging out at bookstores? Perhaps it is the big national chain store, complete with a Starbucks and author signings. Of course we equally enjoy those small used bookstores, eagerly searching for that surprise find.

If you are like me you collect too many books, and are eager to display them. And the only thing you are more proud of is your library card.

But is the book, at least as we've known it for 100s of years, on the endangered species list?

That was the question posed by CBC Radio's Ottawa morning host Kathleen Petty. She looks into the fast-approaching world of the E-Book, where we will simply download books to our laptops, our iPods, and, if Oprah gets her way, our Kindles.

Kathleen Petty's interview is available on podcast, and is interesting. I encourage everyone to listen to it.

E-Books have been around for a while, and once the technology battle settles, we will soon see E-Books take a major mainstream leap.

I can not envision a book-less world in my lifetime, but it will be interesting to monitor the E-Book's growth. There certainly is great potential.

Forget about the warmth a real book offers when you cuddle up with it by the fire. People spend so much time on buses and planes, in boring meetings, or at kids soccer practices or hockey games. What better way to pass time than to pull out the iPod and read something entertaining or educational.

Forget about the common complaint that it is hard to read anything of length on a computer screen. The fact of the matter is soon a whole new generation of people will have read more online than they have on paper. I'm not part of that generation, but already I rely heavily on the online world for much of my news, sports, weather and information. I do not particularly miss newspapers or even magazines.

And just think of all those students and researchers who would love nothing more than to easily keyword search entire volumes in just seconds, as opposed to spending hours scouring textbooks and encyclopedias for some boring tidbit of information?

Long before the economic crisis hit the world, the publishing industry has really struggled with the financial challenges it faces. Publishers will likely embrace the new E-Book world, salivating at reduced production costs.

Add to all of that the increased ability for anyone and everyone to produce their own books, and the E-Book is soon to become a significant force in our literary world.


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