This is the first in a series of posts on my top ten web trends. We will work our way from #10 down to #1.
Trend #10 is the end of print. The web has always provided many advantages over print including greater efficiency, quicker publishing cycles, wider availability, and substantial cost savings due to the elimination of print and distribution costs. That being said, most people continue to print longer web pages because of the difficulty of reading from a computer screen.
The tide is turning. E-reader technology has matured over the past few years. The Sony E-reader was introduced last year and helped revive interest in e-books. Recently Amazon unveiled the Kindle which adds internet connectivity to the equation. The cover story of the November 26, 2007 edition of Newsweek magazine is called “Books Aren’t Dead – They’re Just Going Digital”. Jeff Bezos states “Books are the last bastion of analog… Music and video have been digital for quite some time, and short-form reading has been digitized, beginning with the early web. But long form reading really hasn’t.” Bezos hopes the Kindle will be the beginning of Book 2.0. This article provides an excellent overview of the issues and impact in digitizing books.
Time will tell if the Kindle will become the IPod of reading. I’m a voracious reader, a trait not shared by a growing segment of our population. The recently released NEA report “To Read or Not to Read” reaches a simple, alarming conclusion – that Americans area reading less and their reading proficiency is declining at alarming rates, especially among teens and young adults. Maybe the Kindle can reach this generation using technology that they understand and help reverse this trend.
It suprises me a bit that you call ‘the end of print” as a web trend. There is no need for the web to read a book on kindle. One should think the web trend is: reading ebooks in pdf, on my mobile device. But that exists for more than a decade now, and there is still a bookstore at the corner. I don’t think this will go that fast.
Thanks for your comment.
I included this as a trend for two reasons. First was the survey that indicated faculty now prefer digitized texts. Secondly, the Kindle has the potential to change the paradigm in how we read material from the web. Most people I know will take “long form” web content and print it our rather than read it from the screen. The Kindle and other devices that use e-ink technology have the potential to change that.
I have a Kindle on my list for Santa. I would like to see first-hand if this can come close to duplicating the experience of reading from print.
Mark I hope Santa brought you the Kindle you wanted. I don’t think it will be the end of print, but it might save a few trees and the backs of some students. As far as education goes, rumor has it that the next Kindle version will be a student version. I know that when I was in college I would of loved not to of had to lug around that heavy backpack and stand in those long bookstore lines at the beginning of each semester. I think there are exciting things to come.