That’s the title of an article in the [e-reads] blog:

Despite the gloomy talk about the death of the book it’s pretty clear that printed books serve an essential function in our culture and will always be with us. For those who greet this statement skepticism, we reiterate that there is nothing wrong with printed books – just the way they are distributed.

The big difference between the past and the present is that for the first time in history, printed books are optional. The implications of this fact are profound.

Until very recently the only mode for publishers to introduce content was print.  Printed books defined publishers. With the advent of digital technology, however, a new breed of publisher arose that can if it chooses publish a book originally in digital format and postpone the print edition or skip it altogether.  Well into the present decade traditional publishers like Random House and Simon & Schuster and Macmillan clung to the imperative to issue print volumes before releasing them as e-books.  Eventually they yielded to the exigency of releasing the e-book simultaneously with their print edition.  Issuing e-books withouthaving to do print editions at all, however, is not a measure to be taken lightly.


The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail