Will Digital Books Replace Print Books?

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During the past few years, the publishing and reading world has been facing a veritable digital book onslaught. E-books have been outselling print books on Amazon since 2011 (Polanka, 7). While digital book sales skyrocketed, print book sales, especially those of mass marked paperbacks, diminished. Even the fact that e-books are not much cheaper than print books does not seem to interfere with the former’s popularity. It would seem that the age of print books is about to end, and quite soon.

However, iIn spite of the current pre-eminence of e-books, it may be argued that they are not likely to replace print books anytime soon or possibly at all. Both formats have their advantages and drawbacks, which makes for one of them difficult to replace the other. Moreover, they serve differents needs and purposes. E-books are famous for their portability. Hundreds of e-books can be stored on a single device. Thus e-books don’t take shelving space and are convenient to take on travel, while even a few paper books are bulky and quite heavy to carry around. Numerous e-books are in open access, while paper books are not routinely available free of charge. E-books may be acquired and accessed immediately online, a feature I enjoy especially and treasure most: many a time I was able to buy and read an e-book at home within minutes of learning of its existence. Needless to say, e-books are considerably easier to cite and quote than print books, since the copy-paste feature spares us the trouble of retyping the quoted text. Another important advantage of digital books is their specialized software, which makes reading much easier: search and reference tools, changeable font size and day/night mode, dictionaries. Last but not least, e-books conserv...

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...y discardable, but has an advantage of changing font size and page brightness. With this exception, print books are going to survive. To quote British actor and writer Stephen Fry, "Kindles are no more likely to replace books than escalators are going to replace stairs“ (9). Works cited: Fry, Stephen. The Fry Chronicles: An Autobiography. New York: Overlook Press, 2012. Print. Polanka, Sue, ed. No Shelf Required 2: Use and Management of Electronic Books. Chicago: American Library Association, 2012 Pratchett, Terry and Stephen Baxter. The Long War. London: Haper Voyager, 2013. Print.

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