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Tuesday, 30th March 2010

The Economist Says, "Books are Doing Fine"

From the Article:

Bookstores and publishers may be hurting, but this does not mean that the book itself is in trouble -- at least not immediately. For one, its physical incarnation will not disappear any time soon. People have grown up reading paper books and will not kick the habit easily. And e-readers and similar devices are still no match for the technology known as the book. Try annotating a textbook on a Kindle or reading your favorite author on an iPad whose battery has given up the ghost (replacing it will cost you $99 and all the data will be lost).

What is more, digital technology is strengthening, not weakening the book. Historically, new ways to distribute books have often led to innovations. As books began to be bought mainly in retail rather than borrowed from libraries in the 19th century, for instance, this caused the switch from multiple-volume to single-folio novels. Similarly, e-readers are likely to trigger a wave of innovation in books such as works that mix text and audiovisual content and short-form e-books. Japan has already seen the rise of a new genre, the keitai shousetsu, or mobile phone novel. Books will also be more easily available -- and not just in digital form. Thanks to new printing technology, books can now be cheaply produced on demand. In 2008, the latest year for which data are available, about 285,000 titles were printed on demand or in short runs -- for the first time more than by conventional printing.

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Source: The Economist


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