Are Paper Books Becoming Obsolete?

Are books disappearing with the demise of so many bookstores?  Borders is gone and I’m scared.  Bookstores are indeed vanishing, and so traditional books are in danger of being forgotten.   Since the birth of e-books and growing popularity of e-book readers like the Kindle, Nook and others, the physical book sales have fallen.  Experts say that given the rise in downloading digital books, in five years time, we will no longer be buying paper books. OMG…this is unfathomable.   I perish the thought of books becoming an endangered species.

There is something inviting about having a local bookstore to window shop and catch a glimpse of a new novel display, or the buzz of an exciting new author’s promotional table.  There is an inexplicable joy in leisurely strolling down the aisles, picking up a book and thumbing through its pages. Shopping online for a book is just not the same, especially if you’re just browsing around without a specific genre.  It’s clearly not for everyone. I like to touch a book, read the jacket cover, and see the how the chapters read before I  purchase a book.   I love buying a brand new book and can’t wait to get home and turn the first crisp unread page with an indescribable eagerness. I take pleasure in the fresh off the press smell.

As for the public libraries, although some are vanishing, fortunately there is still much merit because it still provides FREE  information and is not limited to just books.  It offers a forum of community, programs, free access to e-books, e-video, and e-audio to those who cannot afford to buy the latest technology.

But what is in store for our future?  Presently, paper books are still stocked in airports, drugstores, supermarkets, etc.; they are plentiful.  But eventually , production will cease and the inventories will dwindle, and then what?  Most books won’t be available in hard copy and it will just be more cost effective to store in an e-book.

There is the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good:

1.  Paperless is good for the environment so books in digital form are eco-friendly.

2.  Less books, less clutter

3.  Our children won’t be schlepping heavy book bags to school and breaking their backs.

The Bad:

1.  Our grandchildren may never hold,  touch, or turn a page in a book. Paper books come in all sizes, shapes, and

and textures, and that doesn’t translate in digital form.

2.  Computer eye strain.  Most of us are staring at a screen all day.  An e-book is just another one.

3.  Schools are teaching children through excerpts of literature and  rather than complete text. Will they ever use textbooks?

The Ugly:

1.   Bedtime stories will never be the same.  Reading a story, sharing a vivid picture on a page, interacting

with a young child, and luring them to read on to turn the next page is all part of the experience that might now be lost.


It has been revealed that Barnes and Noble and Amazon to date (basically the biggest bookstores to date) are selling more e-books than  traditional paper books.  It is unthinkable that books will cease to exist. It is still a vital component of our culture.  What do you think our culture will look like in decades to come?

I’m both saddened and alarmed by this shift and fear that books will disappear forever as we know them. For now,  I’m going to bed with a good book and giving it a big grateful hug!