E-books are becoming far too popular among readers of all ages as technology advances and printed books seemingly become obsolete in much of the world. But do you read even if you are not holding a real book in your hands? I do not think so.
For nearly 2,000 years, books have been a staple of our society. Since first book was printed in China around 800 AD, people read – if not to gain knowledge, then simply for pleasure.
However, a new, less authentic method of reading has become popular as technology modernizes. the Ebook made a name for itself in the late 90s when people first had widespread access to platforms such as Rocket Ebook and SoftBook.
Since then, people have started to ditch the classic paper and ink books and have become incredibly dedicated to the life of e-reading. Almost 90 million e-readers were sold in 2018, according to a report by Amazon. The most popular e-readers are Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Noble’s Nook, and the number of e-reader users is expected to reach around 1 billion by 2023.
While this statistic is amazing, it hardly compares to the stats for paper books. Around 826 million printed books were sold in 2021 alone. Print books are still statistically more popular than e-books (for good reason), according to a study produced by Pew Research. The same study shows that 32% of Americans have read strictly print books in the past year, while only 9% have read strictly digital books, proving that print books are actually more popular and preferred by consumers. masses.
Simply put, print books are superior to e-books in every way. Reading a physical book – instead of looking at a tiny screen with digital book pages projected from it – offers readers a chance to escape technology and their real-world responsibilities, helping to increase empathy levels and lengthen their attention span.
While buying paper books can get very expensive very quickly, there are plenty of cheaper options, with libraries and second-hand bookstores being the main outlets. If we let e-books continue to grow in popularity, these libraries and bookstores may not exist for a long time.
With the rapid increase in the use of e-books, libraries are beginning to die. Personnel issuesbudget cuts and general disuse seen during the COVID-19 pandemic have made libraries pretty useless recently, but we need to make a joint effort to preserve libraries for as long as possible.
Libraries are the backbone of a multitude of academic societies, housing hundreds of valuable historical and educational books. Removing paper books would render these tangible pieces of history obsolete, which would be an injustice to society.
While maintaining the production and use of paper books is a necessity, producing mass quantities of books is certainly costly in many ways. About 30 million trees are cut down every year to make books, which seems like an exponential amount. However, comparing it to 15 billion trees that are usually felled each year, the number of trees dedicated to books is not even two percent of the total number of trees we lose each year.
It is imperative that we make a conscious effort to maintain the popularity of paper books and not let e-books become our primary form of literary consumption. Paper books are perhaps the last thing holding humanity together after the death, destruction and disparity we have seen over the past few decades.
Throughout history, wars and natural disasters, books are one of the only constants we can observe. Erase their relevance and replace them with small electronic tablets would be doing humanity a disservice.
Featured artwork by Miranda Thomas