I n recent years, toppling printed books are e-books that have become a more preferred medium on which people read books. They topped print sales in 2011 and again in 2012.
A study from Scholastic found that the percentage of children wired to e-books has nearly doubled since 2010 to almost half of all kids aged 9 to 17, while a number who say they’ll continue to read books or magazines in print instead of electronically declined from 66% to 58% .
Despite these growing hits, traditional bookworms like me, hope that e-books and print books could work hand-in-hand, because for all the grand things e-books achieve – handiness, variety, portability, multimedia – there are still some essential qualities they will simply never fulfil as print has often do.
Print is manual – you can feel it, touch it, and smell it.
There is something about holding a book or a magazine that is so beautiful that I can never completely understand. It’s as if I can see the words floating over the pages talking to me and it makes reading all the more interesting and intimate. As I would leaf through the pages of my favourite novel, more memories flash as little photos, notes from friends, and loved ones pop up. I can still see the highlighted phrases that used to mean so much. Some still do. It’s beautiful. With a magazine, I enjoy the feeling of the glossy finish under my fingertips as I skim through the featured articles, advertisements, and the like. Some even come alive in vibrant colors.
Print magazines serve as memorabilia of the times. They remind you of the current timeframe you belong. Although an e-mag may appear to be just as accurate – it does not give justice to that memory lane as print magazines often do.
My grandparents used to pile up Time magazines. I can still recall how I would curiously browse through the events happening in those years. They’re a great version of history. The events ranged from intriguing, brutal, and some incredibly mind-blowing. Aside from that, I don’t think I would ever get tired of sniffing a book’s distinctive smell. The aroma of it makes my heart melt. You can never experience these with an e-book or an e-mag.
Hence, to me, the value of print is its sentimental value as each page holds beautiful and bitter-sweet memories that you experienced with the characters in the story or in the news, and the people in your life that you can relate them to. It’s just priceless. No one, I presume, can afford that in their shelf not even a portable sophisticated e-book which by the way only has a shelf-life of 3-5 years.
They are collectible.
Magazine Collectibles. Photo courtesy of bodhi-pro.com
They say you are what you read so if you have a wide Paulo Coelho collection, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, The Divergent Series, Hunger Games, or even 50 Shades in your bookshelf…then you know what’s my next line. Your favorite books almost always define you. Thus, in the process, you search for a type of literary genre, stack them in your bookshelf, create a library at home and read them at night with a hot cup of tea on the side.
If you are a guy in a bookshop or at a newsstand, you would probably grab a sports magazine, a heavy metal magazine, or a Japanese Mangga that is if you are into the whole Japanese animation craze.
Unfortunately, you cannot have the kind of library we’re thinking with an e-book. Books have power over the value of scarcity, which means that your print is unique on some level. Think Marvel magazines or the expensive football cards that you used to collect as a child. They are now extinct and so much worth a fortune.
For readers who are truly mad at a particular book or magazine, an electronic replica is not a sufficient replacement for owning a physical copy. Furthermore, there have been recent issues of publishing companies having to print hardcover versions even though electronic and mass market paperback editions have already sold over 70 million copies. Why? Readers demand. You just can’t collect an e-book.
Tradition and Change
Ever since e-books have taken its toll among traditional print publishers. the publishing industries have faced a period of weighty transition as they continue to fulfil their mission, rethinking and transforming the methods of publishing while retaining traditional standards for the works that carry their names. Richard F. Thomas, Harvard Classics professor and trustee of the Loeb Classical Library, stated that he considered the digital library a success so far.