Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Death Of Books

I was at a Book Fair in New Jersey yesterday. There was something strange and odd about it. There seemed to be no life to it. True, there were book publishers, book stores and authors, all with tables and books on display. But there was, to me, a lack of excitement--no buzz. What I also noticed was that most of the people were of the older generation. I didn't see that many young people there.Then all of a sudden, I got it. THE CLOUD! EBooks, Kindles, Nooks, IPads, IPhones. Twitter, IM'ing, Texting! Life in 140 characters and entire libraries in the palm of your hand. Books, the actual paperback page-turners are now considered prehistoric by many; especially those of the younger generation. 

When the first clunky eReaders came on the scene years back, most of us were ambivalent and apathetic. From what I was told, they weren't easy to use and were kind of bulky. Needless to say, they didn't catch on too well. But their manufacturers kept plugging away and refining them and the newer models became sleek, powerful devices that even displayed in color. The Kindle and Nook were primed to change the way the world read, and after a few false starts, they have now conquered the modern day book market.

Collateral damage has been the disappearance of Free Lending Libraries also. As a youngster in Brooklyn, I remember getting my first library card when I was around 9 years old. A fantastic world of books and reading opened up to me. Now, most city free libraries have gone the way of the vinyl record. The libraries that are still around make sure to have an access to eBooks.

Amazon, the gigantic online retail company is a major player in the book selling market. Last year it announced that eBooks have overtaken paper books in sales. More alarming is the recent decision by the government to pursue major publishers on antitrust charges. This has put Amazon in a powerful position: the nation’s largest bookseller may now get to decide how much an e-book will cost, and this has thrown the book world for a major loop.

Needles to say the entire state of books, publishing and writing royalties are in a tremendous state of flux and upheaval. But the bottom line is the printed book is doomed. It may not be next week or next month or next year; but it's coming.

Breaking: Microsoft ventures into ebook market with Barnes & Noble
April 30th 2012
Microsoft teamed up Monday with US bookselling giant Barnes & Noble in a venture aimed at grabbing a bigger share of the rapidly growing market for electronic books.
The world’s biggest software group will make a $300 million investment in a new Barnes & Noble subsidiary focusing on the bookseller’s digital reading capabilities, including its Nook tablet, and its college businesses.

1 comment:

  1. As the popularity of digital textbooks has grown, many textbook products also allow for the creation and submission of digital homework using an online interface. The student can even complete the homework while offline. All that is necessary is to save the completed assignment in a digital format incorporated into the textbook software. Once the student is back online, he or she can submit the digital homework assignment via email or through a protected network