Saturday, February 1, 2014

Why eBooks Aren't the Death of Print

I don't wear a watch. I have some in the bottom of my jewelry box for camping and AP tests, but I rarely pull them out otherwise. Three digits in the top right corner of my phone screen is enough for me. Over the last few years, I've noticed a decline in watch wearing. Timepieces, from sun dials to pocket watches to Rolex, have historically been a status symbol. Certain clock towers, like Big Ben, symbolize an entire city or country. Look at Switzerland-watches equal Swiss and Swiss equals watches.
I haven't heard the watch industry whimper about the rise of cell phones. Maybe it's because I don't follow the timepiece world like I follow books. But if it were a serious issue, wouldn't I know about it by now?
I have a calendar hanging on the wall by my desk. I only mark important dates on it, like vacations. A calendar factory made money off me. I use the notes app on my phone but that doesn't stop me from owning several notebooks.
I have a nook. Someday I'm going to find the charger so I can actually use it. 99 percent of my reading is done on traditional ink-and-paper books. But when I want to read something that isn't available in print, I download it.
In many ways, digital books are actually good for the industry. A book stays in print for maybe six years. After that, an author can't make money on sales. Unless they put it up as an ebook. Short stories are too expensive to print unless they're part of a collection. But if someone will download it for 99 cents, why not put it up?
The existence of phones hasn't eliminated the clock industry. Fancy Swiss watches will always be there for those willing to pay for them. In the same way, books will always be around for those who want to read them.

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