With the rise of eBooks and the fast pace of technological developments dominating this century, a question that often comes up is whether the paperback will die out. I own an eReader myself, but I also have a rather extensive collection of physical books which are overflowing from my two bookcases. While the eReader often presents a lower price (which is rather appealing for a student) and has the convenience of being able to take a whole library out and about with you, the paperback book still has something special which keeps me buying hard copy books. One of the most enjoyable things for an avid reader is to explore a bookshop, browsing the beautifully designed spines and searching for the next great read. This is something that you cannot do with an eBook. The experience of purchasing an eBook online while sat at your desk at home, is entirely different to that of the pleasure of approaching the till with a book in your hands.
These reflections are something which was prompted in me by my readings of classic science-fiction novels such as Nineteen Eighty Four and Brave New World. A common thing that keeps cropping up in this genre is not having physical books anymore, for various different reasons (and then of course there is the burning of banned books in Fahrenheit 451). People don’t read in Brave New World, but the character of ‘the savage’ has a volume of Shakespeare which he has spent hours poring over, thus spending a lot of the book quoting Shakespeare.
Recently, paperback sales have gone up while eBook sales have gone down. So perhaps it is not yet the end of the traditional paperback and bookshop. I certainly hope not. There are aspects of eBooks and paperbacks I like, and would like to see them continue to exist alongside each other for as long as possible. A future without paperbacks? There’s nothing quite like seeing a room full of hard copy books. The age of the digital has not quite taken over yet.