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The Paperback – Is the writing on the wall?

Johannes Gutenberg, a German goldsmith and inventor from the 1400’s singlehandedly revolutionized the activity of reading and learning by inventing the printing press with replaceable and moveable letters.

His printing press not only changed how books were produced but brought the written word to a much larger audience, making the sharing of knowledge accessible to all. Given the timeframe since his printing press was first invented, Gutenberg and the print medium has had a remarkably long run. But it appears the final chapter may have ended with the digital revolution and the rise of the eBook.

Computer technology has developed rapidly over the last several decades reinventing how we disseminate information. It was just a question of time before software engineers turned their energies towards the print medium. What has evolved is the eBook. An eBook is an electronic version of a printed book. EBooks can be read on eBook readers or tablets using e-reader applications. Personal computers as well as mobile devices can also offer the ability to read eBooks.

The initial costs needed to purchase a digital reading device like an e-reader, may seem expensive to some, averaging around several hundred dollars. But the good news is an eBook is considerably cheaper than its paperback counterpart. The advantages only begin to multiply, at this point, in favor of the digital eBook.

Your e-reader can download and store a virtual library of eBooks. No more bookshelves. No more dusting. Your friends will be forever grateful when it’s time for you move out of your apartment. There will be no more cardboard boxes stuffed to the brim with heavy books. Young backs will sigh happily with relief. E-readers can store all the novels you could possibly want in a thin, lightweight device that is easy to transport.

EBooks never go “out of print”. Unlike paperbacks, eBooks once created can be stored in a digital format and never run the risk of being unavailable. Reading in difficult situations like low light is overcome with easy access to different font sizes and picture quality that is quickly adjustable. EBooks beat the competition soundly when it comes to language.

EBooks are available in many languages and e-readers also have a translation option. Without the barrier of language a new world of information emerges for the eBook reader. An eBook also leaves a smaller footprint from the environmental perspective. The forests we have left will be spared any further degradation in the interest of paperback production.

If you want to read an eBook all you need to do is go online and shop at your favorite online bookstore, find the title that appeals and then purchase and download it to your reading device. The technology is sound, convenient and innovative. Paperback books haven’t disappeared totally from the marketplace but it is clear that their days are numbered.

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