Ebooks and Tablets are rapidly bringing us closer and closer to treating reading materials and media consumption to Star Trek levels, and while that is pretty exciting, the paper industry is starting to feel the pinch.
The popularity of digital media for books and documents has been accelerating for years, and paper manufacturing is on a dramatic decline. About 10% of books purchased in Canada last year were digital, and another survey says that 21% of people in the US own an eReader.
US Publishers are predicting that about half of books sold by 2014 will be digital, inciting a decline in the need for paper products and printing facilities.
Local newspapers are already feeling the pressure as subscriptions are far less than they used to be. I used to work in pre-press at my local paper, and I found that stories we were publishing were often 2-3 days older than what I had already read on popular sites like the one you are reading now.
This is an inevitable shift in technology in our culture. The transition will be a painful one while it reduces many jobs in the paper manufacturing industry.
However eBooks are creating more jobs in technology sectors, giving a broader avenue for content creators, and reducing deforestation. More trees means more fresh air.
There are still people who prefer the classic musty smell of an old book, or feeling the stacked soft pages in your hands as you read and gratifyingly turn from page to page. Those, however, do not seem valid enough reasons not to evolve into more convenient digital books that can be stacked thousands upon thousands in one small light easy to view digital device.
Do you still prefer books? Are you embracing the eBook revolution or staying traditional as long as you still can?