Modern time can be understood as a transitional period between paper books and their digital analogs. In the last ten years, there was a rapid increase in the popularity of the e-books, but now the sales are pretty steady. However, there is a growing interest in the audiobooks that are easy to enjoy while driving or so. The question is whether the interest in literature remains the same in the digital era and whether books in print will become extinct eventually.
The Future of Literature and Books
The short answer is – it is impossible to predict now. Literature remains a quite popular and enjoyable time for billions of people. First of all, it has proven to be the most efficient hobby to relieve stress. Secondly, it is the most common way of education and acquiring new knowledge. However, some recent studies show that the new generation tends to read less due to the rise of technology. People nowadays consume a lot of written information via social media, news, and all the data available on their smartphones, but the percentage of book reading is a bit lower than 30 years ago.
Statistically, teenagers are reading more than the older generation due to the fact that they are ought to by educational institutions. However, there is a big percent of those, who prefer to read a summary of the book, thinking that it is enough to write an essay for class. It is obvious through the number of requests like Tartuffe summary on search engines. These texts are usually available for free and have a general overview of literary work. It might also be a question of overloading educational programs.
Another important question is the form that books are read and bought. For centuries published books have been the most popular way to enjoy literature, and they still are. However, starting from 2010, the share of e-book sales have grown rapidly. It was predicted that electronic books would replace published ones very fast, but as we see, it’s quite far from happening. First of all, the sales of e-books have stopped on the approximately one level in the last few years and haven’t grown, partially due to the fact that the prices on e-books became higher.
Values of books are not defined by their price, but the pricing influences the market hugely. For example, Amazon paper book sales were 3% higher because of the discount and the general price reduction. At the same time, e-books have no discounts on Amazon, so it is obvious that people choose the more economically efficient option. Another reason for e-books sales stagnation is the services that allow e-books available by monthly subscription. For people who do not search for a particular piece but are interested in constant reading, it is a great option.
It is also worth mentioning that audio books become more and more popular as they require no effort in enjoying and can be listened to anytime.
Paper books also remain valuable due to the unique experience they give. The physical books are more traditional and have a nostalgic feel to them; however, it is not very portable and takes some space at home. At the same time, they have the value that grows in time; some rare pieces become extremely valuable and get into collections and museum. Buying old and exclusive paper books can be seen as an investment, and it is hard to say the same about their e-versions.
Will Published Books Disappear?
It is hard to say as even professionals do not have the same answer to this question. The only thing we can be sure of, if this shift will take place, it won’t happen in the next 100 years for sure. Probably, digital books and novel will get a more interactive character and provide some special experience. There are now TV shows and films that have a place for interaction with the viewer that can influence the plot. It is also quite a common thing in the gaming industry now, so it is safe to say, that something like that can take place in literature. The readers might get the ability to out their comments in the novel or interact with other readers; the possibilities are endless.
There is one thing we can be sure about, and that is that the interest in literature will remain strong among people as it is an amazing way to educate yourself, relax, and share knowledge.