Books Articles - Why books will always be popular

by RYAN FYFE - Date: 2009-11-29 - Word Count: 504 Share This!

Technology continues to bring changes to our lives and many objects that people once placed great value in are being consigned to history. This has led people to speculate that the traditional type of book will be replaced by an electronic version; they point to the record industry as evidence to what will happen to books. Other people feel certain that the format of the book will also be completely revised because people no longer have the attention span to be wading through long narrative; they want something short and zappy. One other claim is that the future type of book will not be a static entity, but instead something that is constantly evolving with readers being able to interact with the text and the author constantly changing it to keep it up to date. These arguments do make a lot of sense, but here is why I feel certain that in some ways they are wrong; are at least not completely correct.

People frequently compare the traditional paper book to the record industry. To me this does not seem like a fair comparison because they are different in many ways. For one thing the book has been around a lot longer than recorded music. Humans have been enjoying books for many centuries while recorded sound is only just only been popular for over a hundred years or so. Recorded music has evolved rapidly during its history with different types of vinyl records leading to cassettes which developed to CDs and eventually to MP3s. People did become fond of different formats, but they were still having the same sort of listening experience only that it came with improvements. This is different than books because most readers claim that every attempt to develop an electronic reading device has always took away from the experience; people read electronic books for connivance and not because they offer a better way of reading. The big changes that have occurred with music have not happened with books and they don't really seem like to. The electronic book will become more popular, but it is unlikely to replace paper for many more years.

The next argument is that people want something much shorter that the traditional 60,000 to 120,000 word book. The reality is that there have always been some people who liked the short story over long narration. These days less people choose short stories and people now expect books to be longer; the average word count for a book was once about 60,000 but nowadays people feel shortchanged if it is anything less than 100,000.

The idea of the interactive book becoming more popular probably does have a lot of truth in it. New technology like Google Wave might herald some really exciting times ahead with readers being able to interact more with the story. These types of new technology will likely bring many new enjoyable ways of doing things, but they will likely just be a different way of reading rather than replacing the traditional book.

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