"Measured en masse, the stack of 'books I want to read' that sits precariously on the edge of a built-in bookshelf in my dining room just about eclipses 5,000 pages. The shelf is full to bursting with titles I hope to consume at some indeterminate point in the future.
"It would be a lot easier to manage if I just downloaded all those books to an iPad or Kindle. None are hard to find editions that would be unavailable in a digital format, and a few are recent hardcover releases, heavy and unwieldy.While I am a big fan of ebooks, I also agree with some of the comments in Catone's article. There is something nice about holding a printed book in one's hand. I do believe that sales of ebooks will continue to climb every year and sales of printed books will decline, but probably will never approach zero. As Josh Catone notes, "Yet the writing appears to be on the wall: E-books are slowly subsuming the printed format as the preferred vehicle on which people read books. E-books topped print sales for the first time in 2011, a trend that continued into 2012."
"But there's something about print that I can't give up. There's something about holding a book in your hand and the visceral act of physically turning a page that, for me at least, can't be matched with pixels on a screen."
You can read Josh Catone's full article at http://goo.gl/dVKyA.
A lot of people will argue that printed books will always be around because they "feel" better or are easier to read (which I dispute) or for reading during power failure or for other reasons. However, such arguments usually ignore the biggest reason for ebooks' continuing success: economics.
The cost of paper continues to climb every year although that expense is probably minor compared to the ever-escalating costs of printing, binding, storage, shipping and, of course, labor. In contrast, ebooks are becoming cheaper every year. When ebooks first appeared on the scene, the publishers charged the same for an ebook as for a printed book or, in some cases, even charged a premium. That soon stopped, however, when would-be customers refused to pay the high prices. Publishers soon found they could sell ebooks for lower prices and thereby sell many more books, resulting in larger profits. For proof, scan through Amazon.com's web site to see the many ebooks selling for $4.95 or less while printed versions of the same books sell for double that or more.
I still believe the MAJORITY of books will migrate to ebook publishing within a few years but I doubt if it will be a 100% conversion. I suspect that a few, smaller, specialty publishers will continue to publish on paper for a long time yet. To be sure, such books will probably cost $50 each or more within a few years, but I believe there will always be a market for "coffee table books" and other collectibles. As long as enough buyers are still willing to pay a premium price for a printed book, some publishers will meet the demand.
As Josh Catone wrote at the end of his article at http://goo.gl/dVKyA, "Printed books are for people who love printed books. Digital books are for those who love digital books."