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Have you turned your back on the paperback?

12:18 UK time, Friday, 28 January 2011

Amazon has announced that in the US it sold more e-books for its Kindle device than it sold paperback books in the last three months of 2010. Is this the start of an e-book revolution?

Over the pond, the Office of National Statistics said books sales by UK publishers had fallen by 5.9% from 492 million books in 2007 to 463 million in 2009.

The number of adults visiting public libraries also steadily fell, although more children appeared to be taking books out.

Libraries are facing the brunt of council cuts, with many closing all over the UK - forcing many people to take stock of what the loss of free service means for them. But are they being targeted because people prefer to read books online?

Do you read e-books? Do you prefer paperbacks? Do you visit your local library? How will we be reading books in the future?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.


Page 1 of 5

  • Comment number 1.

    Reading for fun? Madness I say!

    Oh gotta go, X-Factor is on!

  • Comment number 2.

    No, but the industry is...

  • Comment number 3.

    Yes, I have an e-reader a Sony. It is about the size of a paperback but thinner and lighter. I like it and have about 3 books waiting to be read. So, at a doctor's surgery or wherever I wish to read while waiting. I pull it out and it is so much smaller than those books would take; in my pocket. I still value reading paperbacks or books. The e-reader is just more convenient, in general.

  • Comment number 4.

    Personally I don't read e-books, I prefer to read real book.
    Having said that, I don't buy many books nowadays, although I have hundreds of books from when I used to - which was probably before the advent of the internet, online gaming, and other such diversions.

    I see an increasing number of people with Kindles and the like, and no doubt it will increase in popularity for some time yet.

  • Comment number 5.

    23 year old web developer. I prefer the real thing.

  • Comment number 6.

    I think there are pros and cons for both e-books and paperbooks. However personally I would rather read paperbooks as I find them easier to read.

    I use to borrow books from the libary when I was a student or jobless. However I do not have time to use libraries because I work full time. Also I do not like reading books that have been handled by other people- I have come accross a few grubby books. Plus I no longer like using libraries as my library certainly seems to be a haven for the great unwashed and a playground for kids. Staff are no longer allowed to tell kids off for being noisy and cannot refuse entry to smelly people either! A library is meant to be peaceful and clean afterall! If I really want to read a book I will buy it from a cheap online shop.

  • Comment number 7.

    Too many pixels make my eyes water so naturally I prefer books.
    I think that over-reliance on electronics is far too many eggs in one basket.

  • Comment number 8.

    I'm doing part time study at the moment and came across my an e-book for the first time this semester. I haven't referred to it much so far so can't really judge. I can see the benefits of though - portable, lighter etc.

  • Comment number 9.

    I don't read e-books. I don't buy paperbacks. I do buy non-fiction books and I often buy 2nd hand from Charing Cross Road dealers. Good quality books can be resold whereas as e-books cannot be and there are still many advantages to real books but of course sellers of e-book readers will want you to buy their hardware and, eventually, suffer online adverts to pay for your 'free' books and that is what is driving the move to e-books online...

  • Comment number 10.

    I'm a fan of real books and can't imagine curling up in bed with an e-book. That said I can see the appeal for things like holidays and have already invested in an iPod to allow me to listen to my entire music collection or watch films when travelling (which I do a lot through work).

    In recent years supermarkets seem to have embraced the book market and have gone beyond the best seller chart. A recent visit to Asda saw books like Schindler's Ark and The Godfather available for less than £4 which is half what the high street would charge for the same book.

  • Comment number 11.

    I suspect a lot of those figures are made up of people new to electronic books going on a download frenzy with their new toy. The 3 or 4 people I know who bought one last year immediately downloaded about 6 months worth of reading in one go, especially when they discovered that loads of classics are available for pennies. They aren't actually reading more than previously, so once the novelty of newness has worn off and e-books stop being the latest must-have gadget we'll see the percentage numbers change.

  • Comment number 12.

    I'll probably get a kindle (or simillar) eventually, for travelling, but it'll never beat the feel of a real book in my hands. I love my collection of books & think you can tell a lot about a person by what they have on their shelves (& in their bathroom!)
    The main problem I have with e books is that you can't lend it to someone without giving them the device it's downloaded onto. If I buy a great book I own that copy & can legally share it with my friends but I can't do that with a kindle, you only own the download you bought & can't transfer it to some other tech (though I'm sure some "naughty" people have found ways round this.)
    Other issues are the current cost of the tech, making it a bit too pricey for me to feel comfortable taking it on holiday & the fact that I read in the bath & the screen will get all steamy!
    I think the good ole paperback will be here for a while yet. Just look at vinyl, everyone said that was dead too. :)

  • Comment number 13.

    Those trees won't plant themselves...
    Oh wait

    I prefer paperbacks, but that's probably because nobody has bought me a kindle yet.

  • Comment number 14.

    Being a bit of a gadget freak i am rather intrigued by e-readers, although i just can't bring myself to pick one up, and i honestly couldn't tell anyone why!

    There's something about the feel & smell of a book and general ambience that i think can be recreated by a rather whizzy new Kindle (or other reader). I'm sure i'll end up with one sometime or another, but not yet.

  • Comment number 15.

    I love to read in the bath. Plug in my lap top and read until I fall asleep. No need to worry about a paperback getting wet.

  • Comment number 16.

    I must agree with #3, I travel a lot and started reading books, (I love detective stuff like Rebus/Morse etc)to allieviate boredom at airports and on planes and hotel bars, now I have hundreds of them.

    So i will invest in one of these kindle, is that right, things.

  • Comment number 17.

    I spend so much time in front of the computer I prefer the look and feel of a real book. They are also nicer to look at and you know they are physically there when you want them. If amazon removed your book you can be stuck without your purchase.

  • Comment number 18.

    Probably not only, but also, Isaac Asimov wrote about electronic readers as normal in his future-history. From science fiction they have become science fact. But he also had a soft spot for hard copy and included his feelings in several of his stories.

    For myself, I haven't yet been pulled into the gadget world of iPhones and iPads and Kindles and the like. I really like to read a proper paperback, gently bending the pages and covers as I try to not break the spine. There is a certain tactile sensation that is more comforting to me.

    Looking to the future, though, I'm sure that I will fall prey to the inexorable march of technology and will probably enjoy reading words from a tablet-form e-book. But I DO think that i'll feel slightly poorer for it.

  • Comment number 19.

    I have analogue and digital radio, digital TV, cassettes, vinyl, CDs and DVDs for entertainment, but I still prefer a book.

    You don't need a power source for a book, it works everywhere and it isn't digital so it doesn't suddenly go bersek and refuse to allow you to read it (Oh yes, they do that....... being the usual response when digital loses the plot!).

    What is more, many older books are not available on these modern electronic "readers" so why would I be bothered to waste money on one?

  • Comment number 20.

    E-book in the bath or on the beach? Not a good idea. And something else for the battery to run flat and make useless, just when you need it.

    For now, happy to dog-ear the book and read without a glare from the page.

  • Comment number 21.

    I have a mobile phone that plays mp3's which strangely enough is the format that most audio books come in. As for E readers what a complete waste of money i have a laptop that does everything an e-reader does plus everything an ipad does plus everything a desktop pc does and everything a tv and video does why on earth would i buy another piece of kit when my 1 device does it all.!
    Oh yeah thats right consume consume consume.

  • Comment number 22.

    Not a huge fan of e-books. There's something satisfying not just about the feel and portability of a paperback, it's the smell of opening a new book, too.

    I should confess I have another reason for not being wild about digital publishing. I am an author with 14 books in my back catalogue. My publisher has just asked to amend my contract to take account of digital publishing. As a sweetener, it has offered to double my royalty from 10% to 20% for the sales of e-book version of my books. In return, I have to agree that the publisher will hold the rights "for as long as the work is in print". Since we're talking digital, the work will be in print potentially for ever. It's not as if they have to crank up the presses for another 20,000 copies in a new edition.

    In other words, in return for the 20% royalty, I have to sign over the rights to my books to this publisher for good.

    I haven't signed.

  • Comment number 23.

    Its a tough choice.

    I'm an avid reader, and I only have real paper books in my collection, but this is about to change.
    I've seen the e-readers on the market today, and they have swayed me. A screen that mimics paper in its reflectiveness, the ability to store thousands of books on a single lightweight device, and libraries of purchases that are forever safe in the cloud - Books can't compete.

    Some people prefer the feel and smell of paper, and the lovely intellectual feel that you get from a room full of books. True this can't be replicated with a digital book, but does that really matter?

    Times change. In times past we scribbled our thoughts and stories down on planks of wood and lumps of granite. Now we want those stories and thoughts in 1's and 0's - I think its just important that we still want to read, learn and pass on knowledge.

  • Comment number 24.

    I find I can not read off of a screen after a day using one so haven't really looked into digital readers. I would be sad to see books go the way of CDs but as long as people are still reading we should be happy.

  • Comment number 25.

    E-books are a fad that will disappear in a few years time, when books will still be going strong (albeit not in the same quantities). I bought £24-worth of books in The Works yesterday for £1.97. Awesome, and what great quality books.
    Don't celebrate the demise of books just yet, there are those of us who still enjoy the sound of flicking through the pages of a book (something you don't have to plug in to charge up!).

  • Comment number 26.

    All very well, until there's a shortage of batteries. And you can't rummage through e-books like you can with the real thing in a second-hand shop. The day Hay-on-Wye closes down all its shops we will know the printed book has died.

  • Comment number 27.

    Save some trees, people.

    Look to the future.

    Paper is a thing of the past. E-books are the future.

    Those who say no are selfish pigs and have no regard for the wider picture (the environment).

  • Comment number 28.

    Paperbacks all the way for me. Spending the bulk of my working day looking at a screen, I have no desire at all to read a book from one for pleasure, in fact as trying to read a long document from a screen drives cross eyed, i usually print those as then i have no problem.

    If paperbacks disapeared and the only way to get books was to buy e-books, I would print them and read them.

  • Comment number 29.

    Call me old fashioned, but I love my books. I love the feel and smell of the book/pages. To me, whenever I open up a book I am IN it - feels like curling up with an old friend. Sorry, but I can't get that feeling from an E-book.

  • Comment number 30.

    Reading happens to be one of my favourite hobbies and I couldn't care less if that appears boring to some people! I borrow books from the library regularly and, when I can afford to, enjoy buying new books, or second hand ones. I certainly do not wish to read books on line. In fact I am one of the (seemingly) few people in this world who do not have a computer at home, nor do I wish to have one. I have never followed the herd and for that matter do not use a mobile phone either. Yet somehow I manage to enjoy my life very well. I hate the thought that libraries may close but I do realise that many people chose other options to read which is, of course, entirely up to them. The many cutbacks that this unelected govermnet are imposing will do little for economic growth, just cause much misery to many. And as has just be proven the unelected government's so called policies failed miserably for the last quarter last year-to have to use the weather as an excuse shows just how pathetic they are.

  • Comment number 31.

    Mind you an E book would have been a help with the latest Wheel Of Time novel. It's a breezeblock!

  • Comment number 32.

    This is another case of marketing hype. Most people by Paperback from shops and not on line. People by hardbacks on line usually. Therfore to compare the sale of electronic readers and paper backs is just not on. Typical marketing talk.

  • Comment number 33.

    Books are bought to keep, and probably reread in the future. Too much chance that any e book bought now will be in an obsolete format and unreadable once I want to read it again.

  • Comment number 34.

    I shall continue to read books in "book form".
    E-books are not easy on the eye. Require battery or mains power and would look particularly rubbish on my bookshelves.
    Don't worry about the tree's issue, the trees are planted to pulp the only eco problem are the chemicals used in paper making. But think about the batteries, power used, component parts of PC's IPADS etc.

  • Comment number 35.

    I don't see this as either/or at all. I have a Kindle and think it's wonderful, but on the other hand I have a huge number of books at home - far too many, according to my wife. I have four books currently 'on-the-go', including one on the Kindle, two paperbacks and a hardback. Anything that increases my opportunities to read is a good thing!

  • Comment number 36.

    I purchased an Amazon Kindle last September and it has become my preferred way of reading where there is an eBook version of the book I want. I reckon that the eBook reader will do for reading what the iPod has done for music listening.

  • Comment number 37.

    27. At 2:43pm on 28 Jan 2011, U8860545 wrote:
    Save some trees, people.

    Look to the future.

    Paper is a thing of the past. E-books are the future.

    Those who say no are selfish pigs and have no regard for the wider picture (the environment).


    Calm down, pulp trees are planted for this, they feel no pain.
    As long as tree's are replanted and care is taken with paper making you are causing more damage with discarded batteries and pc component parts.
    I read a great deal, however I have planted more tree's then I have had destroyed for my books.

  • Comment number 38.

    U8860545 wrote:
    Save some trees, people.
    Look to the future.
    Paper is a thing of the past. E-books are the future.
    Those who say no are selfish pigs and have no regard for the wider picture (the environment).

    You appear to be a little confused, books are made from a renewable resource and also act as a carbon deposit whereas e-books require rare earth metals, use up massive amounts of energy during their manufacture, even more energy every time you re-charge the batteries and also contain a several different materials that are harmful to the environment if not properly disposed of.

    It will be a very long time before an e-book is developed that is more environmentally friendly than a paperback book and there's a good chance that such a product will never be developed given the minimal energy and resources required to produce a book that could potentially last for a several centuries.

    I still own books that I bought in the 1940s; I wonder how many e-books will still be working 60 years after they were manufactured...

  • Comment number 39.

    Amazon must be spending millions of dollars trying to persuade us to buy one of their pathetic gadgets. Remember: an e-book is not yours to keep; it's simply on permanent loan from Amazon.

    Amazon, if you're listening: I DON'T WANT ONE!

  • Comment number 40.

    "Amazon has announced that in the US it sold more e-books for its Kindle device than it sold paperback books in the last three months of 2010. Is this the start of an e-book revolution?"

    No. All that means is that those in America that buy their books on Amazon have starting buying e-books. You cannot extrapolate that data onto the entire world literature market and think that people prefer e-books. Who wants to read a book on a screen? Paul Calf would say that it's a bag of something.

  • Comment number 41.

    I have the kindle app on my iPhone but I hardly ever use it. It's handy for travelling but that's about it. I much prefer a real book, they are far more satisfying.

  • Comment number 42.

    UK publishers USA sales down by 5.9%...

    During this period....

    Amazon changed it's selling practices, saying prominently that a book was unavailable and in harder to see smaller print how the book might be bought elsewhere, in effect reducing sales for small publishers.

    Google Books has been promoting 100'000's of books from small publishers with the real Publisher Name removed and a false one inserted, sending buyers on a wild goose chase thus reducing sales for small publishers.

    In our view, this is no accident, it's simply ruthless business practice.

  • Comment number 43.

    Stuff the Kindle, support your local library!

  • Comment number 44.

    "Have you turned your back on the paperback"? is the HYS question.

    Nope. No way. Pass them on and share.

    As for post 27 @ 2:43pm on 28 Jan 2011 - get over yourself in your polluting battery and electricity driven fantasy land? E-books have their place - will you share or pass on your expensive E-book toy - or donate it to a charity shop or a care home? Doubt it.

  • Comment number 45.

    The e-book is very interesting but I find it will never replace the hardcover book - it makes a very poor doorstop.

  • Comment number 46.

    E readers don't have the right feel!

  • Comment number 47.

    My wife requires glasses for computer work, because staring at the screen gives her a headache. I also require glasses for computer work, and many other activities because my eyesight is poor. Neither of us need glasses for reading - she doesn't get a headache and my short-sightedness isn't an issue with books.
    As has been said, the smell, touch and flexibility of a book are advantages - the bulk of having several books is a disadvantage. But when e-books (solar powered, I'm sure, to please the environmentalists, and without the toxic batteries they now use) are the norm there will still be something special about seeing a library of books. As an example I have a set of encyclopaediae that is quite out of date, yet still a marvellous reference and still well used.

    So have I turned my back on paperbacks? Definitely not. Reading a paperback relaxes me and my eyes; reading a computer screen, however deviously it pretends to be a book, strains my eyes and I find it like comparing beer-mats - I can't get no relax.

  • Comment number 48.

    Your reading choices will be determined by your e-reader's manufacturer.
    A retrograde step.

  • Comment number 49.

    As an avid reader of books both hard and paper back I am not happy with the thought of being forced to go with the prospect of having a Kindle (stupid name) or any other form of e-reader. The only advantage I see is that my wife cannot complain about me wanting to turn the lights out at night when she wants to carry on reading. I have many questions relating to the e-readers. One being how is it going to affect my local library. Also that the book shelves I have would be redundant.

  • Comment number 50.

    I've bought an Amazon Kindle. It's light and convenient to use, although at times it tends to freeze or some other technical glitch occurs. For this reason, e-books will never replace the traditional book. There's just something about the trusty paperback, a certain quality, probably its inherent simplicity, that you just can't get with an electronic version.

  • Comment number 51.

    "12. At 2:23pm on 28 Jan 2011, RubbishGirl wrote:
    The main problem I have with e books is that you can't lend it to someone without giving them the device it's downloaded onto"

    Totally agree with you there. If I read a really good book I want to be able to pass it on to friends or family so that they can enjoy it as well. Both me and my Mum are avid readers so we're always swapping books with each other. You just can't do that with an e book.

  • Comment number 52.

    I still like analog technology (books !) instead of those new fangled digital devices.

    I already spend too much of my life staring at a screen, thankyouverymuch.

  • Comment number 53.

    No, having worked in IT for well over thirty years, I can say categorically that I will never use an e-book, I will continue to buy Hard and Paper Back books. An e-book to me is a transient thing with no life or soul, it is temporary, not permanent as a real book is.

  • Comment number 54.

    Every so often, whenever I'm in a different town I'll visit a charity shop and buy several second-hand paperback novels at the same cost you would pay for one new one.
    I like to read the books while I'm soaking in a hot, steamy bath. (Not so good in the shower.) Either way, a Kindle device would not be suitable.

  • Comment number 55.

    Giving up on paperbacks, well no. I spend quite enough time reading and writing on screens. Reading a book is quite a different sensation on a screen and not one I want to follow. Now, books on CD/dvd that you can listen to whilst driving or doing low grade computer stuff- thats different and if supply wan't so limited I could do a lot more of that. Thats true freedom .

  • Comment number 56.

    Why would you turn your back on convenience? With paperbacks, you can read whenever you want, you can share with others, and you can use it as reference, forever.

    Nothing electronic, is forever. Nothing.

  • Comment number 57.

    Books are here to stay 100s of years so far? gadgets are soon outdated and replaced today its in fashion tomorrow landfill.

  • Comment number 58.

    Whether we like it or not, the printed books are slowly giving way to ebooks. The time is not too far when the printed books will share the fate of manuscripts in today's manuscript libraries.

  • Comment number 59.

    I am a fan of books - have several thousand - buy and sometimes sell them cheaply on Ebay and enjoy reading them everywhere. Can loan them to friends. Trouble is too expensive to buy new.

    I also enjoy audio books - again bought on Ebay.

    Don't think I'll buy a Kindle

  • Comment number 60.

    I'm turning to eBooks and my local library (to whom I'm gradually donating most of my books).

  • Comment number 61.

    It's very disappointing that Kindle books are often a similar price and sometimes more than the paperback version. You would think the costs saving of electronic delivery would make them a fraction of the price, but it seems to be a high margin business at the moment.

    Steven Quas Collins

  • Comment number 62.

    I like proper books over digital. Not got a kindle or similar and I doubt I will unless they get to be about £20. I also like looking at books on a bookshelf - in a similar way, I have thousands of vinyl records and CDs - although I have to admit that I use the internet for research and the like, as it's easier. I reckon an e-reader would give me a headache as well.

    My worry would be losing an e-reader or it getting wet/broke. I can afford to throw away a 50p book. Can't afford to lose £100 or whatever they cost.

    I would suggest the figures may be being played with as well. Don't some readers come with about 1500 books already on them? Are they being used in the figures? E-readers and e-bboks are fairly new as well, so I reckon sales will begin to tail off at some point (and pirating will play a part here), whereas we've had books for thousands of years. You can lend someone a book as well or browse them in waiting rooms. You can't do that with an e-reader.

    The libraries debate is something else altogether. Councils use them in the wrong way.

  • Comment number 63.

    I used to read on my old smartphone but it wasn't very well designed for that and was a bit of a chore. I now have an iPhone, I tested an e-reader app on my brother's iPod before making the decision to buy one and it made my mind up for me. I have never looked back and read on it every day. Everyone who is able should give it a try, you can carry many books around wherever you go and it is much easier.

  • Comment number 64.

    To add to my above comment in answer to the critics, Amazon and Kindle is not your only option. You can start using ebooks without supporting Amazon's world domination.

  • Comment number 65.

    Nothing like nodding off to sleep cradling a good softback, can`t really imagine doing the same with a computer screen.

  • Comment number 66.

    I love my paper books. Don't read fiction any more, but I don't think that is the point, is it?

    In years to come, I can't really see people going through secondhand e-book shops with the same enthusiasm that they do in secondhand bookshops.

  • Comment number 67.

    As an ex librarian, with one room of our house full of books, none of which I can bring myself to destroy, I fully understand anyone's attachment to books. However things move on. Probably reading a novel for pleasure still holds attraction, particularly for older people, when in paper form but for non-fiction and information the computer has taken over. Few libraries can offer the same wealth of data. In fact for many youngsters the internet almost presents the problem of information overload

  • Comment number 68.

    I spend all my day on a PC the last thing I would be to is spend it on a cut down PC e-reader! Anyway, I only like magazines with loads of colour pictures.

    As for libraries aren’t they going to be closed but opening again by volunteers – have you not been following the government’s BIG society? Like we are going to sack all the road sweepers and council litter pickers – then pay then on the dole to do the same job.

  • Comment number 69.

    I download more digital books now than real ones. It's great to get them within seconds of ordering them. I have the reading software set up on three of my computers and it always remembers were I am up to. There's no chance of loosing any books because the system knows what you have purchased and updates any new computer you add your account to.
    I haven't bought a hand-held device yet but it's getting more tempting.
    If the books are good enough, you forget you're reading from a screen and your finger clicks the page down button without you thinking about it.
    Once I've finished the book, it doesn't take up space in my house either.

  • Comment number 70.

    Paperback all the way. Trust when I say there's nothing more satisfying when you finish reading a book/novel and waiting for the authors' next follow up sequel or new story.

    Besides digital book are bad for your eyes.

  • Comment number 71.

    I have an e-reader for my leisure reading, but still prefer real reference books as I find it easier to flick back and forth.
    However, the ereader is brilliant. The technology is unbelievable and a type of ink is used so you do not get glare as with a LCD screen. Infact if you aren't converted yet, compare a kindle 'page' to a real book's page and tell me there is any difference.
    What I like about ereaders is if my eyes are tired I can increase the font size, it fits in my pocket and I can store 000s of books on it!
    However, I will always use real books as well and can't see them ever disappeating completely.

  • Comment number 72.

    Yep last year whilst on holiday, in Florida searched high and low for a particualr book to read on return flight. In the end got 2 books downloaded on my iphone for nothing.

    Ease and freedom is the simple answer, not mentioning the saving of the enviroment.

  • Comment number 73.

    You can't whap cockroaches with a kindle.

  • Comment number 74.

    I've only ever read a paperback under protest; I much prefer the feel of a hard-backed book but, even so, the content is surely more important and it can't really matter what medium it is presented in.

    Libraries have their place, though, even faced with new e-book technology. The convenience of flicking through the shelves and borrowing a couple of books per week, entirely free of charge is, for me, preferable to buying yet another gismo that sooner or later will fail, and paying through the nose for every book hired out.

    Most adults probably don't visit their local library because a. their attention span equals the time between TV advertisements, b. they can't be bothered to get out of their chairs if the remote control is within reach, and c. their sphere of awareness has been limited to whatever the brainwashing media feeds them with. E-books for them would be ideal.

  • Comment number 75.

    Given up on paperbacks? No, not yet, not everthing I like to read is available as an eBook at the moment, especially the technical and more specialised stuff. But I do notice a lot more people using readers on my daily commute, I think Kindle's must have been a popular christmas present!

  • Comment number 76.

    For me nothing beats a good book and I have a significant collection at home, many unread! The brutal assault on our libraries by this evil government as they protect the thieving Rich is an attack on education. Many older people dont forget look forward to spending time in the libraries and taking out books so shame on this vile PM for his wicked anti social policies.

    Libraries this is mending the 'broken society' is it.

    Thank heaven for charity shops or is Cameron seeking to close them next?

  • Comment number 77.

    I love to read and I am not a convert to downloads as yet. Call me traditional - I still love the smell of the pages, the turning, the touch of paper and also writing down my thoughts as I read. The libraries near me are quite hopeless as the books are not interesting nor varied. it doesnt satisfy my desire at all. My son's books are possibly more than the library and more varied!

  • Comment number 78.

    #15. At 2:26pm on 28 Jan 2011, Dr Llareggub wrote:
    I love to read in the bath. Plug in my lap top and read until I fall asleep. No need to worry about a paperback getting wet.


    No worries about the laptop falling in the water and getting wet then! Surely a new paperback book is cheaper than a new laptop.

  • Comment number 79.

    A proper book is the past, present and future. They have been loved for centuries and will continue to be.
    At least if you sccidently spill your drink on it, you won't get error messages!

  • Comment number 80.

    Nothing is permanent. Our forefathers used to write and read on stones, animal skins, etc. If we should now reject the papers for electronics we have contributed to civilization.

  • Comment number 81.

    The demise of printed media has been predicted regularly for the last century or so. First radio, then TV and now e-books. Print has been around for 400 years or so; it isn't going to go away tomorrow. It's a generally practical way of conveying information. You can make notes on it, underline key passages or record your opinion at the specific point where it applies. And it will still be there in 10 or 20 years or more time. Cyberspace does not preserve books and materials for future generations. In certain academic circles there is concern that students' referenced papers cannot be found because they were taken straight from an internet source that is now no longer accessible - so we lose the information upon which some work was done, and with it our ability to critically evaluate such work.

    There is also a certain irony in that, probably the best known internet company, made its mark by selling 'obselete' print technology, ie books.

  • Comment number 82.

    I burn through loads of books at a rate of knots.
    I use the local libraries to the hilt in order to get value for my council tax.
    Any books I buy (invariably p/backs) will be kept around long enough to read the once and then if I think I might read it again I keep it a little longer, but invariably they are kept in good nick as they will all end up sold on eBay or Amazon sooner or later.

  • Comment number 83.

    It is a fair bet that the figures for last quarter are distorted and paperbacks will reign supreme again, unless the publishers inhibit a recovery because virtual books are cheaper to produce.

    The Kindle was the Xmas gadget of 2010 so I would expect a huge upsurge in purchases of online books in November/December as a supplement to Xmas presents.

  • Comment number 84.

    #73. At 3:52pm on 28 Jan 2011, Profcynic wrote:
    You can't whap cockroaches with a kindle.


    You could do, but it wouldn't do it much good, and especially annoying if you had just got to the exciting part of your e-book!

  • Comment number 85.

    73. At 3:52pm on 28 Jan 2011, Profcynic wrote:
    You can't whap cockroaches with a kindle.

    Or prop up a wonky table :)

  • Comment number 86.

    How often do you have to charge-up a real book? I suspect this is all a load of puff by the e-book industry.

  • Comment number 87.

    I did not think i would become a fan of e-readers. However I bought a Kindle and I just love it. I will still buy paper books ie cook books and probably some hard backs. But E-readers are definitely the way forward, and the e-ink is amazing and I love that I can go on to the wi-fi and download a book there and then! Battery life is excellent - to those who are sceptical - give it a go!

  • Comment number 88.

    I recently got a Kindle, and I like it. While I still get the occasional book in paper form, most are downloads.

    The advantages, for me, are:
    - easy to buy stuff - just click and it's there (and often cheaper)
    - no books!
    - easy to carry around
    - on holiday, you can take loads of books (or buy out there) without filling up your luggage

    I find it just as easy to read as a paper book (much better than a phone or laptop), and I'm not fighting to keep the pages open without bending the spine.

    Pretty much the only significant disadvantage I've found is that you probably shouldn't read it in the bath...

    I know a lot of people like the 'feel' of a real book, but the problem is that they take up space. Round here, you can't give paperbacks away to charity shops, they've just got too many. They'll take hardbacks, but that's it. So, you end up storing them, or binning them.

    We have a room half-full of bookcases, plus a loft full of boxes of books, it was getting to the stage where we didn't want to buy books because we had nowhere to put them...

    We've tried things like ReadItSwapIt (but probably just get one or two swaps a year) and BookCrossing (which often ends up just being like littering, because the books rarely get taken) and they don't work well enough. Selling them on eBay doesn't work either because the postage costs too much unless it's a rare book, so it doesn't even cover the listing fees of all the ones that don't sell.

  • Comment number 89.

    74. At 3:54pm on 28 Jan 2011, milvusvestal wrote:

    Most adults probably don't visit their local library because a. their attention span equals the time between TV advertisements, b. they can't be bothered to get out of their chairs if the remote control is within reach, and c. their sphere of awareness has been limited to whatever the brainwashing media feeds them with. E-books for them would be ideal."

    A bit unfair. I don't visit a library because the one near here is open from 10am to 3pm Monday to Friday, and closes at lunchtime. So, given that I still have to work, there's not much chance to get to it...

  • Comment number 90.

    78. At 4:00pm on 28 Jan 2011, mofro wrote:

    #15. At 2:26pm on 28 Jan 2011, Dr Llareggub wrote:
    I love to read in the bath. Plug in my lap top and read until I fall asleep. No need to worry about a paperback getting wet.


    No worries about the laptop falling in the water and getting wet then! Surely a new paperback book is cheaper than a new laptop."

    Sarcasm detector broken today then?

  • Comment number 91.

    I bought my partner a kindle for Xmas.

    I have to admit that I was very skeptical. But I bought a very nice leather case with it so it opens and, at least on the outside, feels and looks like a book, and I have been very surprised. She has used it for at least a few hours nearly every day since she bought it and needed to recharge it for the first time this week. There are hundreds of free books available for it, including ones you would have to pay huge amounts for in paper (complete works, very old classics)

    What has surprised me most has been the screen. As many other commenters have said, they do not want more glare and pixels after working at a computer all day. But the screen really is excellent; there is no glare and unless you look at it rather than reading it, it honestly feels like reading from paper.

    Will it replace paper books? Probably not, at least for some time. But in the same way I both buy CDs and download MP3s depending on what I want (to relax with an album or make a playlist of singles to drive to), e-books have a very secure place in the future.

    Doubly so since e-books do what e-music does not: charge a reasonable price considering the saved production cost. Brand new books are no more than £4. I believe this will serve to prevent a lot of piracy; I know that many people pirate music simply out of some weird sense of honour: electronic music should never be more expensive than hard copies!

    Authors will eventually begin releasing the books themselves cutting out all of the traditional 'middle men' who used to be so essential for actually getting published; good riddance! Hopefully music will follow shortly after! This means lower costs to the fans, more money for the artists, and less money for those profiting from others' talent!

  • Comment number 92.

    Have you turned your back on the paperback?


  • Comment number 93.

    Absolutely not, just reading Deakin - Wildwood, a journey through trees, excellent. Just finished Leviathan - Philip Hoare, excellent, fiction Sunset Park by Paul Auster. I love reading books, far better than a screen.

  • Comment number 94.

    Drat! I was planning to set up a book manufacturing plant as I heard there were some unwanted forests going cheap in the UK. I don't think I will bother now.

  • Comment number 95.

    I have 1000's of paperbacks, I hate techno gadgets. I've never seen a Kindle, but I THINK I'm right in saying you can enlarge the font and also switch them onto voice mode to read aloud to you. Is this correct? If it is, it makes them very attractive for old people, and this is dangerous. Because kids love gadgets and if grannies need them too, it truly is the death knell for the paperback book. It remains to be seen how all this will affect publishing and new authors.

  • Comment number 96.

    12. At 2:23pm on 28 Jan 2011, RubbishGirl wrote:
    I'll probably get a kindle (or simillar) eventually, for travelling, but it'll never beat the feel of a real book in my hands

    I was given a Kindle for Xmas, out of the blue (never heard of it before).

    Wonderful, I can read this a lot better than any book. If I put it down, or turn it off I go straight back to my page when I re-open it. Easier to hold, turn pages back and forth.

    Downloading new books is so easy. My one complaint is that the majority of books for sale; 1/2 Million, are not all best sellers, a lot at the cheap end are just to fill the catalouge.

    But I'm convinced that this is the future, my kindle will even read the book to me if I want, which I have passed to all the mothers of young kids who are just learning to read.

  • Comment number 97.

    I enjoy reading real books, paperback and hardback, I have not bought a kindle and for so long as books are published never will. The thought of carrying around a tablet for reading material is akin to the Egytians reading clay tablets, save that you only need one! A book will vary in size, texture, cover, and weight all part of the enjoyment of reading. A well stocked library of books is aesthetically comfortable. If I want quick facts or to study a point I will use my PC/Laptop, but in bed on the beach,or in the lounge my books are supreme!

  • Comment number 98.

    I have an e- reader a Sony. I love it. No bookmarks for my grandchildren to pull out! I have problems with my hands and find turning conventional pages hard to turn so the reader is great. I download from a book store (not Amazon, if you haven't got a Kindle they are useless) If I can't get a book I want to read in my format I buy a paperback.

  • Comment number 99.

    Have I turned my back on paperbacks? No, no no. I've had a passionate love affair with books since I was a little girl. A lot of moons ago now. I've run out of shelves so have them stacked on the floor all over my flat. I just have to rummage through books; either new, in second hand or charity shops. The smell of new books is just so romantic. I've shed some friends over the years but the books have always been there. I don't want to look at yet another screen. I want to handle my book and turn the pages. There are tears in my eyes as I write and I must control my emotions..........

  • Comment number 100.

    I still prefer hard copies of books. I enjoy the feel of a book in my hands and I view books as wonderful decorative items. Few things in a home impress me more than bookshelves filled with books. I never give away the books that I read and I am proud of my home library.


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