For thousands of years, access to written sources, such as scrolls, historical recordings, or books, was considered a luxury, predating Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press. Books were painstakingly copied by hand, many of which were lost to wars, natural disasters, or neglect.
However, Gutenberg’s revolutionary invention in the 15th century transformed the reproduction of books and subsequently altered people’s reading habits.
In the 21st century, we are witnessing another transformative revolution driven by digital technology. Much like the printing press, blessings such as the internet, smartboards, tablets, and e-readers are reshaping our reading and learning habits once again.
One of the most noticeable changes resulting from technological advancements is how we obtain new information. Gone are the days of searching dusty library shelves for specific information. With just a click of a button and using search engines, we can access hundreds of resources on nearly any subject.
Compared to physically searching through books and library archives, which may offer limited resources, using a search engine to find specific information is far more practical and efficient.
Consequently, the time spent locating resources in a library could instead be used to find, examine, and critically analyze the same information.
Smartphones have become the primary interface for accessing, consuming, and distributing information, essentially serving as a virtual library. Technological advancements are transforming communication, education, entertainment, and information retrieval.
To best serve their patrons, libraries must embrace mobile technology, offering access to e-books, newspapers, videos, audiobooks, and multimedia.
Focusing on mobile device users, libraries should develop a comprehensive mobile technology strategy. Establishing an integrated experience between desktop and mobile is a fundamental starting point.
Furthermore, libraries can enhance traditional services through technology and introduce new services tailored specifically for mobile users. Adapting to users’ daily routines allows libraries to integrate into their lives seamlessly.
What’s remarkable is that ebook reading and downloading are available without visiting any libraries.
Nowadays, mobile reading apps can be called electronic libraries. The same FictionMe has thousands of books, in particular novel stories. If you like novels, you can find a huge digital library in the app.
Have Ebooks Become More Popular Than Printed Books?
According to the Association of American Publishers, e-book sales in the U.S. slightly decreased to $983 million in 2019 compared to the previous year. This slowdown followed several years of double-digit decreases in e-book sales. Hardcover and paperback books dominate the market, generating approximately $3 billion and 2.5 billion in sales in 2019.
Interestingly, the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 brought a surge in print publishing sales, which witnessed an 8.2% year-over-year increase, reaching 751 million copies, as reported by Printing Impressions, a publishing industry journal. The increase was attributed to people having more leisure time and needing to educate children at home.
While e-books have undoubtedly contributed to the publishing industry’s success, they can still overwhelm readers. For those accustomed to visiting local bookstores, possibly browsing through the aisles, and reading the first chapter before making a purchase, this experience can be replicated with e-books, albeit with a slight adjustment.
What is the Difference Between Ebooks and Printed Books?
Major publishers have forced Amazon, the dominant online bookseller, to raise e-book prices. As a result, new e-books are not significantly less expensive than their paper counterparts. Over time, prices have increased by an average of $5 per e-book.
Publishers must account for overhead costs such as office space, utilities, benefits, and employee salaries. Additionally, there are printing, editing, marketing, and distribution expenses. Although e-book editions eliminate some costs, particularly those associated with printing and distribution, readers often expect e-books to be free or substantially cheaper than printed books.
Some publishers argue that printing accounts for only about 10% of a book’s total. By removing this step, the book’s cost would only decrease by approximately $2.70. Consequently, the average price of a book would decrease from around $27 to $24.30.
E-books offer what regular books cannot: they allow you to customize the text according to your preferences, are more compact, and simplify access to digital libraries. However, this does not mean that printed books are a thing of the past and have become irrelevant.
In the modern world, both reading options can easily coexist. If it is possible to purchase a paper book and enjoy the smell and touch of it, why not do so? On the road, on public transport, or in a large group, you can freely use e-books.