Regular Books Dead in 5 Years?


Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the One Laptop Per Child Foundation, stirred up some controversy at a tech conference in California last week when he said that the physical book will be dead in five years. He doesn’t mean they will go away completely, just that ebooks will become the dominant form. He used the recent news that Amazon is selling more Kindle books than hardcovers to support his claim.

Man, it’s been a rough week for books. First, Barnes & Noble announced it’s thinking about putting itself up for sale, and now this. While I love ebooks and was quick to embrace their convenience, I think calling physical books dead is a little harsh. There’s something special about holding a book in your hands that an ereader will never replace.

Browsing the bookshelves at the library or bookstore is also an experience that can’t easily be replicated online. I frequently find new books at the library just by browsing the shelves and picking up books that catch my eye. It’s a different story with my Kindle, which I tend to use only to buy specific books that I already know I want.

I guess what I’m saying is that there’s a place for both physical books and ebooks. Why does it have to be one or the other? I think they can peacefully coexist without killing each other.

So do you think physical books will become antiques in the next five years? Or do you think there is no way ebooks can ever replace regular books?

(Source: TechCrunch)

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