There May Be Hope for the Future Yet

Just as I was playing the funeral dirge for print books, along came an article that restored my faith in humanity. First, GalleyCat reports that in the UK, a big majority (62%) of young adults prefer print to e-books. Admittedly, it was a very small sample – only 1,420 people – but it was heartening.

And then, I read this: Children’s and Young Adult e-book sales increased by almost 200% in August, while hardcover and paperback sales only rose in the low double digits. So, while the smart kids in the UK are recognizing the value of old-school print books, most young people over here are spending their money on e-books.

For those who say e-books are better for the environment because they don’t require cutting down trees and poisoning rivers, I agree we shouldn’t make paper from trees. We should be growing hemp. But that’s a whole different discussion.

I just feel sorry for the future generation who will grow up in a world without real books. They will never know the sublime pleasure of holding a book in their hands, feeling the different textures and weights. Or the scents of fresh ink on glossy paper or the grassy-vanilla scent of old, yellow pages. No standing in line to have an author sign – with a real pen – the first page of a much-loved book. No pages to slip a note between and pass to a secret lover.

And what will they do when their devices crash, or the batteries die?

They’ll come crawling to us old coots who still hoard real books, that’s what. 😉


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