Paper Is Dead!… Really?

As you can imagine, I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the past several months studying the book publishing and book marketing business. I’m far from an expert, and all of my research has been online, but one of the main streams of thought that I kept having to swim through during my educational efforts is the one that keeps repeating over and over again that PAPER IS DEAD!

These books don't look dead to me!

The End is Near!

According to some sources, we are only years (not decades) away from the end of books, at least those with heft. Yes, I said heft – as in weight… significance. The kind you can hold in the palm of your hand and judge how many wonderful evenings you’ll get from it sitting by the fire, the crackle of the flames almost – but not completely – covering the crinkle of one page as you turn to another, enraptured by the story.

I’ll admit to being of an older generation. But I’m only fifty-five, computer-literate and enjoy my fair share of technical gizmos. I run with a Garmin and track my workouts online. My writing is all done on a laptop. I have read a book on a Nook and would be happy to do so again. It is likely that, someday soon, I’ll actually own a Kindle.

But the feel of paper is still important to me. Most likely it is psychological, but I can get lost in the story easier when it is written in ink and the words are all there; physically in my hand, not hiding in a chip or out in the ether. I treasure the ease of glancing back to re-read a passage for clarity, or just because it was so beautifully written. No matter what they say, I don’t believe it is the same with a piece of plastic and computer circuitry.

Smart Writers Don’t Mess With Paper Anymore

I’ve been told that the most successful self-published authors don’t even bother with paper any more. I recognize some of their names now, not

English: A Picture of a eBook Español: Foto de...

Image via Wikipedia

because I’ve read their books (I haven’t), but because they are held up as examples of the future of publishing. In some ways. I suppose I hoped that I would be able to mimic their success. “Harvest of the Heart” is available in all e-Book formats and part of me expected that most of my sales would be delivered electronically, not by UPS or the US Mail.

Someday that may be true. The e-version of my book isn’t yet available through Amazon. But for now, the physical manifestation of my book RULES! If this were a presidential election, they wouldn’t call it a land-slide, they’d call it a blood-bath. Paperback – 88.5%, eBook – 11.5%.

I Might Outlive Paper Books

I’m not on a crusade to save paper books; I honestly don’t think they are threatened. Who knows? Maybe fifty-five years from now, they’ll be extinct; but by then I’ll be listening to them through a headset as I train for my next marathon. I don’t think these old eyes are going to be reading much when I’m 110 years old.


Filed under Publishing and Marketing, Writing

4 responses to “Paper Is Dead!… Really?

  1. I weep at the demise of the bookstore. I have a kindle and I love it, but to not go to a book store, to not buy my favourites in both formats….I can’t contemplate that.

  2. We still need paper, everyone has a hard copy of anything that’s important! 🙂

  3. I agree with you. I enjoy holding a physical book in my hands, flipping back and forth through the pages. I like the quiet swoosh as I turn a page. The many hours I’ve spent reading books to children would never be the same, for me or for them, if I’d read them on a device.

  4. I don’t believe print books are going to completely die away. I think there is a certain magic to paper that digital can’t imitate and people will continue to appreciate that (I don’t care how naive that sounds :D). I do think it’s likely that most books will be eBooks though and that many authors may start out in eBooks or be primarily in eBooks. Possibly readers will choose to buy print books from among their favorite eBooks. Not sure. But I’m convinced print books will have some place for a long time to come.

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