The End of Print Media

May 5, 2010
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It can be expected, that over the course of many years, the print media industry will continue to decline as the electronic media industry will corner more and more of the market. Despite this, it is unlikely that electronic media will mean the end of books. Besides, it is not such a sad thing for ereaders and computers to replace books and papers. These electronics have conveniently provided books for both avid readers and those who rarely read paper books. All in all, a book is a book and whether it is made of ink or pixels makes no difference.
Recently, several companies have pushed forward with “ereaders,” gadgets with which one can purchase and read literature. These devices, along with the growing availability of news articles and books on the internet threaten the continuity of print media. Some believe that paper books are in their death throes, while others claim that electronic media will never be more than a small fraction of the market.

If people were entirely rational, they would likely empty their dusty book shelves and buy ereaders. These devices simply offer much more than a book. With an ereader, one can adjust brightness and text size, sample books and instantly buy them, and look up unfamiliar words with the click of a button. Paper simply cannot compete with silicon. However, people’s emotions tend to impair their judgment and people have a deep emotional connection to paper books. Everyone remembers holding their favorite books in their hands from before they could read into old age. When Amazon or Apples tries to replace that paper with a cold hunk of metal, they instantly reject it, not because it is a worse product, but because they lack the nostalgia of paper books, magazines, or newspapers. On the other hand, the younger, more tech-savvy (and therefore less likely to be puzzled by an eareader) generation lacks the same intense connection to print media and probably will not shy away from a superior product.

The superiority of ereader technology does not necessarily mean the end of print media, as paper does have some advantages over electronic books. Some people find ereaders too complicated, and prefer the simplicity of a book. Others are deterred by the high price point, despite the low cost of purchasing electronic books. Some avid readers are unable to find the publications they wish to read electronically. The Barnes and Noble Nook for example, has the largest collection of books with a little under a million. This seems like a large number, but pales in comparison to the over 30 million publications, on paper, in the Library of Congress. However, as ereaders become better and less expensive, as more and more books become available electronically, and as a younger generation learns to read, electronic media will undoubtedly grow. As ereaders grow from their current 2% of book sales, they will gobble up a portion of print media’s sales. It is unlikely that ereaders can completely corner the market, but in the distant future, it is likely that most words will be read off of screens, not pages.

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dunder mifflin said...
Jun. 2, 2010 at 10:47 am

How can there be enough paper for books considering paper supply companies such as dunder mifflin are becoming obseleet and bankrupt. They are forced to be bought out by companies like saber


jeremy said...
Jun. 2, 2010 at 10:44 am

How can you expect for paper products to still exist and succeed in an increasingly paperless world


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