In 10 years how will we be reading books?
There is little doubt about the forecast that e-books will eventually replace paper books as the dominant medium of publishing. In the decade or so of its existence, the e-book technology has taken big strides toward establishing this dominancy. There are several factors which are fuelling this change in the reading habits of students and consumers. First, with the felling of trees to make paper pulp is no longer sustainable. This threat of environmental catastrophe had first pushed responsible publishers to use recycled and acid-free papers. And gradually they’ve opened up a parallel market for e-books. Second, alongside the rapid rise of telecommunication gadgets in the last twenty years, incorporating e-book reader features into their design has become easier. Also, in anticipation of a future market for dedicated e-book readers, companies like Amazon and Samsung have pioneered Tablet devices. Amazon Kindle comes in a range of models, all of them offering e-book reading functionality. In the future, e-books could be used by different sorts of users, including “the model builder who would Like to see in a 3-D rendering exactly where to put the next piece; the reader of a Balanchine biography, who wishes to see a clip of a ballet performance.” (Randolph 22) Hence, it is fair to claim that in the future, the same groups of users bring served by specialized and generic libraries would adopt using e-books.
Also, while discussing the advantages and disadvantages of e-books often the needs of the visually challenged are not taken into account. But it is the visually challenged who are set to benefit much by using e-books and allied technology. One of the features that is especially important is the adjustability of font size. Another is the option of ‘night’ mode where characters will be printed in white on a black background, providing relief to the eyes. This flexibility and customizability of e-book technology to special needs audiences predicts a bright future for it.
It is apt to conclude this essay by highlighting some of the unique features of e-books and allied devices. Some of the reasons why e-books are gaining popularity are its bookmarking, annotating and hyper linking capabilities. Students and those on the move appreciate the portability of numerous books in a single device. For scholars, the keyword searching feature is indispensible. E-book readers now offer backlighting feature that facilitates reading in the dark. E-books are essential for running distance learning programs, for online study material is made available round the clock. Some e-book reader software allows users to retrace their reading history. Also, many e-book reading software have links to online dictionaries, which allow readers to find meaning of words without perusing a cumbersome paper dictionary. What’s more, e-book devices make it possible to hear the audio pronunciation of a word- something that is not possible with paper books. These advantages augur well for the future of e-books. (Mackey)
• Abram, Stephen. “Books and E-Books: As Different as Night and Day.” Information Outlook Apr. 2010: 32+.
• Brunsell, Eric, and Martin Horejsi. “The ABCs of E-Books.” The Science Teacher 79.8 (2012): 8.
• Godwin-Jones, Robert. “E-Books and the Tablet PC.” Language, Learning & Technology7.1 (2003): 4.
• “Kindle Connects to Library E-Books.” Library Administrator’s Digest Nov. 2011: 66+.
• Mackey, Margaret. Literacies across Media: Playing the Text. New York: Routledge/Falmer, 2002.
• Randolph, Susan E. “Are E-Books in Your Future?” Information Outlook Feb. 2001: 22.
• Staiger, Jeff. “How E-Books Are Used: A Literature Review of the E-Book Studies Conducted from 2006 to 2011.” Reference & User Services Quarterly 51.4 (2012): 355+.