“One thing about e-books that most people haven’t thought much is that e-books are the very first thing that we’re all able to have as much as we want, other than air” _ Michael S. Hart (The inventor of e-books)
First books, if you can call them “books”, were written about 5000 years ago on clay tablets. As human’s knowledge grew bigger, new ways were invented for creating books and by each invention, the previous generation was gradually outdated and antiquated. So, in this way, books evolved through ages, from clay tablets to animal’s skin, to papyrus, etc., and last but not least, to paper books that you know them today. Then, at the beginning of the 21st century it was time for an e-books new invention to gradually get viral. Here with available statistics and by helping of logical reasoning, we want to determine a time for paper books to say their goodbyes.
It is worth mentioning that, the concept of electronic books (AKA e-books) existed many years before 2000, but we name them as engineering and science advanced, it was indeed from the beginning of the 21st century that e-books became “kind of” viral. If we want to choose the champion in the e-books and paper books battle, there are many factors to be considered. We’ve discussed many of them in our previous articles in TechnoBook Blogs, Seven Advantages of E-books over paper books and Reading This Before Buying Your Next Book is a Must . But the ultimate factor, the key one, is being chosen by users. On one hand, some fans of paper books believe that nothing could replace the smell of books and the sensation that comes from touching the book pages. On the other hand, there are nerds, tech fanatics who believe that e-books with their functionalities and things set the bar so high, that it seems preposterous to compare e-books with paper books. And finally, in the gap between them, there are the ones who are transitioning from analog to digital, from old to the new, and they go back and forth between books and e-books.
The next thing you should know is that after rising a new technology, the previous one should not be forgotten and that’s why we can’t exactly predict the future. What we can do, we guess things based on present circumstances. For instance, when music online stream services came, selling music through CDs and DVDs gradually became obsolete. Something which happened with records too. But, after the rise of television, the previous technology, radio, kept on living.
As we mentioned earlier, it was at the beginning of the 21st century that e-books started to get viral. To give you a better understanding of the speed of e-books epidemicity, we’re going to give you a few numbers and statistics. The “International Digital Publishing Forum” has reported that e-books sales went from 1.5 million dollars in 2002, up to 55 million dollars in 2009 (US Trade Wholesale Electronic Book Sales 2009). The next one is a prediction. Ecolibris website has predicted that till the year 2025, e-books will occupy 75 percent of market share.
There are multiple academic studies about e-books. For instance, in an article, named “A study of university student behaviors in using eBooks in Hong Kong” published in 2013, author’s focus was on analyzing HongKong college students’ behavior in terms of using e-books. “The study established the ever-increasing popularity of eBooks among University students in Hong Kong. The results indicated very evidently that the frequency of eBooks usage by students was going up steadily and students possessed a positive and in some cases an excellent overall perception about eBooks. The study very clearly proved that progressively more and more students were attracted toward eBooks because of their unique functions and distinctive advantages. In addition, students had very rational and logical views and expectations concerning the future development of eBooks, thus implying a promising potential for the development of the eBooks market.” In the end, “based on the results, the study has put forth certain recommendations for the sustainable development of e-books”.
It’s obvious that in today’s societies and academic communities, paper books aren’t the main cultural or scientific media. People who were born in the 21st century had bonded with colorful displays from the first day. They were interacting with different devices on daily basis. Little by little, they fell in love with technology and finally they reached to it. It seems logical, that this addictive attachment could cause a tendency to things that are closer to the latest technology, like e-books.
Functionalities that e-books make available to us, can entice any bookworm to start using them. However, it seems that we are in the transition state, and because engineers are closer to the technology, this transition, from print to digital, probably is easier for them. On the other side there are people who resist this migration, but sooner or later they probably will be used e-books.
Therefore, maybe it’s not too irrelevant, to conclude that paper books are bound to fail. Attractive contents and many functionalities that technology offers at a much cheaper price and more convenience, could lead to a gradual eradicating of epidemicity of paper books and their annihilation at the end. Nevertheless, it’s impossible to exactly predict the ultimate champion of this battle.
It seems e-books have the potential to own a large portion of market share and as the technology improves, e-books and their associated devices capabilities and functionalities get better and therefore it is probable that the future belongs to e-books and digital publishing. So, if you haven’t used an e-book yet, you can simply download your first engineering e-book from here. At the end, we want to remind you that as Marc Slater, director of 7 Speed Reading said: “Clearly, the winner in this round is none other than the person doing the reading, no matter which method they choose.”
- An evaluation of second-generation ebook readers Chris Gibson and Forbes Gibb Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK
- A study of university student behaviors in using eBooks in Hong Kong Hokyin Lai Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong Marco Li The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong