Once upon a time the pager had a ubiquitous role only to be wiped out by the mobile phones which devoid the former of all its role. In a similar way, when Kindle e-book readers arrived, people speculated the death of the print industry.
Others believed it would actually help the cause of the literature. Then came the tablets, which worked as computers, easier computers actually, and also doubled up as e-book readers. As readers, where do these developments leave us?
The e-books are rising rapidly, or so says Amazon, and this gives rise to concerns by Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison.
“My biggest concern is that the technology will continue to widen the gap,” she told Reuters. “It won’t just be the digital divide but also a reading divide if reading becomes an activity that’s now dependent on technology”.
The concern looks legitimate when the price of a regular book (Rs 300𤿌) is considered, whereas about Rs 10,000 would be needed to buy an e-book reader. But then, we can’t discount the fact that a single Kindle device can hold about 1500 non illustrated books (with reduced search speed).
So who will exactly buy an e-book?
Gadget freaks just need the first sign of technology they hadn’t seen earlier and they are hooked. Then there are hard core readers, who just love the words, in whatever form they come. If they come in the form of e-book readers, where they can store so many more books that what they could access in their libraries, so much the better.
Apart from Kindle, there are other good e-book readers also, such as Nook from ‘Barnes and Noble’. There are also devices from Samsung and Sony. The popular tablets are iPad from Apple, Galaxy from Samsung, Xoom from Motorola.
Apart from the younger readers, even readers over 50 are buying such devices.
People belonging to this group are heavy readers and have been loyal followers of conventional print books. Things became more interesting when Kindle claimed their e-readers had sold more than the Harry Potter books.
With the arrival of video, radio was believed to be killed. The truth is, today both the media coexist side by side, without disturbing each other.
Similarly, e-book and tablet may conveniently agree to live with the other.