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.