Duking it Out

Who’ll take the belt – upstart digital or good ol’ print?
Digital and print go toe-to-toe on the shifting canvas of today's market.

Digital and print go toe-to-toe on the shifting canvas of today’s market.

A couple of articles grabbed my attention this week – just for seeming so different from each other.

The Christian Science Monitor posted a story about America’s first bookless library. You read that right – a library without books in San Antonio, TX is packing the patrons in from around town and around the world. I’m not a “this changes everything” kind of guy, but “… stocked with 10,000 e-books, 500 e-readers, 48 computers, and 20 iPads and laptops, the $2.3 million library has been compared countless times to an Apple Store with its rows of glossy devices.” The Biblio-Tech definitely looks like the future we were promised in the early-80’s of a future paperless society.

It’s weird because, even though I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of a paperless society, when I think of libraries, I get images of the Library at Alexandria or Green Town’s library in Ray Bradbury’s “Something Wicked This Way Comes” (which I picture as a classic Carnegie library). These are buildings stocked with books. Bookie-books. Paper books!

But there’s good news for the old champ, because PBS reports that “Americans prefer print books over e-books” based on recent Pew Research polls. Only three in ten adults polled read an e-book in the past year, while seven in ten read a book in paper. The amazing thing is that half of those adults polled own a tablet or e-reader on which they could read e-books, but they still prefer paper. So maybe Alexandria and Green Town will stay in the bookie-book business.

Elephant books.

Elephant books.

Yes, there’s an elephant in the room. How are the kids reading? Scholastic reports that kids are reading e-books, but still overwhelmingly prefer print books. In my work writing, promoting, and selling youth books, I’m learning that e-books are becoming more relevant but print books don’t seem to be going anywhere. I remember as kid liking the idea of owning a book (and I didn’t love reading back then). According to librarians and teachers, this hasn’t changed. Kids like books.

Holding and owning a book is still important to the little ones – and, apparently, the big ones too. So let’s not do the digital count on the old hardcover pug yet.

Now, here’s the cheese on this Brain Burger.

3 differences between an all-digital library and an all-print library:

  1. You can’t get electrocuted spilling coffee on a print book.
  2. Turning out the lights in an all-print library = no more reading.
  3. Read the pages or read the pixels – your choice.


Paperback amazon Delphi Deception

Delphi 2 kindle

Ingram Delphi Deception
Categories: Books, Libraries, Readers, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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