I have been reading ‘Print is Dead – Books in our Digital Age,’ by Jeff Gomez and have now completed my reading of it. The final chapter ‘Will Books Disappear?’ asks the obvious question concerning books in a digital future. The answer is both yes and no I think. Certainly books will still be around for the foreseeable future – niche products, throw away copies, second-hand books, collectors items, etc. However, traditional book production will certainly slow and far fewer will be printed and distributed in the ‘traditional’ manner.
In the digital age, Print on Demand services may grow and maintain popularity for a period, with services like Google Books allowing the ability to print an out of print work cheaply and quickly. Allowing these works to also be accessed via the World Wide Web and in ebook format will limit the use of this technology I would think.
With the content of books still being the main resource, employment around the content of books should also remain. The need for editors, publishers and the like, will still be required for excellence in ebook production. The quality of books should continue undiminished, though there will also be avenues for lesser quality works via the World Wide Web. So the book will not disappear, only its appearance will be transformed and the content remain the same.
Closing Thoughts on the Book
‘Print is Dead – Books in our Digital Age’ covers no new ground, but it does cover the same ground of the traditional book versus the ebook very well. It presents its case and does it well. Traditional book champions will more than likely remain unmoved by the arguments of Jeff Gomez and those that herald the arrival of ebooks will probably agree with the sentiment expressed in the pages of this book. I believe ‘Print is Dead’ presents a very balanced argument for ebooks in the digital age and presents a future for books that is upon us, in inevitable and that offers up some wonderful possibilities if we are willing to embrace them. I would recoomend this book to anyone interested in the traditional book versus ebook debate.