The richest literature heritage is already digitized and has free access. Hundreds of online libraries reckon that information must be free or at least easy to find. Practically each individual is able to possess literary artifacts of any historical age on his or her PC (with handy navigation system and keyword search so as not to confuse legend of Beowulf with the legend of Beograd or something). Atomic age transfered into the Digital era.
Initially TV was that murderer which started to kill the book: human nature is lazy by itself, why to read if I can watch! And here comes the Internet. Look how friendly it seems to be! It turns the old brown-paged book into a file of 357Kb that any digital storage can contain, this is how intellectual discourse shifts from printed pages to networked screens. Electronic variant of book is small, appealing, and convenient. Especially if one needs to cheat during exam or aims at putting unnecessary load out of the workplace. Also it’s simpler to search through which is extremely helpful if you’re doing homework assignment or need to find some quotes asap for tomorrow essay. Such books are practical to use while commuting, travelling, and during the coffee break. Hence, generation after generation people get used to digital publishing, thus, by now a lot of devices provide the reading function: PC, smartphone, tablet, e-book, and even PSP.
So what is to happen with an ordinary paper book? The American research has shown that at the moment half of the customers of bookstores are more likely to be the window shoppers. They stroll along the shelves to see the covers, to weigh the books, “to feel” them. Whereas those who buy paper books prefer mostly IT literature, chicklit, and cheap defectives detectives. The conclusion is made: within a few decades paper book will become as rare as Siberian tiger.
However, it will definitely exist as vintage luxury and probably will be affordable for collectors only. Old yellowish folios will be seen mostly in museums and antiques stores. By the way, discover why old books become yellow with time. From now on the way for a book should be paved to the Red List. Fortunately, dozens of organizations appear to support the “book movement” all over the world to make readers dust their books and exchange with each other. One of such is Bookcrossing where you need only to register item which you’ve already read and share this book with other people. It helps not only to spread readership, but also boost the circulation of books. Also to keep books alive festivals are held annually involving both authors and readers. We recommend you to see Top 25 of them. Choose one for yourself and preserve what you have. Future is bookworthy.
Besides, there’s something e-book certainly cannot do in contrast to paper one. For instance, recently secret fore-edge paintings were discovered on books dating back as early as the 1650s. Fore-edge painting is a way of hiding a painting on the edge of a book so that it can only be seen when the pages are fanned out. There are even books with double fore-edge paintings, which implies that different image can be seen by flipping the book over and fanning the pages in the opposite direction.