The Future of Books

The Future of BooksIf you look at pictures of a woman in a kitchen taken 30 years ago, you might see her with an apron, hands covered in flour and an open recipe book on the workbench as she bakes another delicious creation. The book would be something like The Family Circle Cookbook and recipes would include roast lamb, chicken and beef recipes and how to make delicious soups, a somewhat lost art.

Fast forward to today and the woman or man in the kitchen will have replaced the book with an iPad, smartphone or a laptop. Instructional books seem to have gone the same way. Almost every book ever written is available on the internet through Amazon or a number of public, free, online libraries. Is the future of books a done deal?

Oddly enough, the death of the printed book has been greatly exaggerated. There was a period of time when Kindle and iPads cut deeply into hard copy book sales but there seems to have been a recovery. Statistics shows that over the past two years paperback books have increased in sales by about 10% annually. How can one explain this? Ebooks are being written by the thousand each day, but somehow, the digital book and the paperback have learnt to live comfortably side by side.

There is a famous bookshop that deals exclusively with old books, some more than 100 years old. They are collectors items. What is written in them may be accessed digitally via the internet but there’s nothing like the feeling of physically opening the cover of a book and feeling the pages between your fingers. You are transported back in time reading such a traditional, old book, more so than switching on your Kindle.

People still buy books from this old shop online and the owner mixes the electronic, modern age method of ordering with the age old method of wrapping and sealing. The protection of the books that he posts out is done by using a vacuum sealer to keep the book safe from atmospheric conditions and the then this sealed book is packaged further with cardboard before popping it into a padded postal bag. It matters not whether the book is a timeworn edition or a new release. The paper needs to be protected from the elements.

When you set aside an afternoon to do some reading how do you go about it? Do you shuffle through the paperbacks stacked in your bookcase and make a selection based on the blurb and the cover? Or do you switch on your iPad and Kindle and read your book digitally? It’s hard to get away from tried and true relaxation which includes holding a book in your hand while you lay back on your sofa or bed or on a banana lounge on the beach. You can allow your imagination to carry you to some exotic place and relate to the characters portrayed in the novel. Share their emotions page by page. If you use an electronic device, you will always be tempted to check your social page or the latest news. Books are here to stay.

The Future of Books