pocket-ref-3-lgA friend of mine was interviewing me about bookselling stuff..(yes i still work in books for money as often as I can)  and the obligatory hot button topic came up…when exactly will paper books be replaced with digital versions.  though I keep SAYING – ‘never’ but no one believes me – probably because ‘Because I said so’  is never a reasonable answer.

I tried to emphasize that as long as you need current to access the text,  paper versions will always survive.  In the time it takes to pull out your E-device, turn it on, open the file, type in a search for what you want find – a normal person will have flipped open the book to where they have left the ham sandwich as a book mark, found the phone number, mathematical formula or crockpot recipe, flipped the book closed and gotten back to work.  Meanwhile you are strying to replace the batteries in your device, while your hands are covered with grease or chicken blood or even found that you need to download that book all over again because you only THOUGHT you had the right book inside the device.

Can you see what I am getting at?  Indeed the advent of portable digital references is a boon to forests of pulp worth trees everywhere.  No more wastes of  space such as 3 pound  software books, or statistical abstracts or god forbid more business text books  and the eternally disposable best seller fiction.  The more books we can avoid printing, the more important and beloved actual printed books will become.

If people SHOULD be happy with digital versions of books why is there a demand for machines to print them out?

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