Paper Books Belong to the Past

I wonder what many of us book lovers should be thinking of the news that Encyclopaedia Britannica, the 240-year-old reference, has decided to stop printing books and move the entire thing online.

I think we should celebrate. This an opportunity for all of to realize that a paper book doesn’t have any intrinsic value in itself. Printing was simply the best technology available at the time to transfer knowledge, thoughts and entertainment among people. That is no longer the case.

Of course we are not moving all books overnight to digital form. But we should have no doubts that eventually this is where we’re all heading. There will come a day when we all start feeling that paper books are relics of the past. Lumbering, inefficient and awkward, and many of us are already at that point.

Once you get into the ebook habit (and I’m not talking about reading on computer screen, which is simply uncomfortable, but of reading tablets like Kindles or iPads), you start realizing how odd, impractical and laborious your old ways were. I came to that realization once it took me less than a minute to download the Steve Jobs book and start reading it. I never looked back.

If you love books, you’ll be sad. But if you love reading, the future ahead is bright and exciting.

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About Mustapha Hamoui

I'm a Lebanese designer, businessman, geek, and blogger at beirutspring.com ..

9 comments

  1. Pingback: Beirut Spring: Encyclopaedia Britannica to Stop Printing

  2. Maggie

    I so got used to reading on my ipad, it is becoming quite hard reading the old way.

    • Mustapha Hamoui

      Same here for the kindle.. Still not getting used to reading on iPad. Maybe the new retina display one will make it easier..

  3. As a publisher, we realized that we would have to bite the e-book bullet last year, and have published our first four e-books. There’s no doubt that e-books are kinder to the environment, and solve the problem of physically shipping books from A to B. Personally, nothing beats the feel and smell of a physical book, and although I posses a kindle, I still prefer flipping through paper pages. But, you have to move with the current, and recognize that the future is electronic, although I hope there will always be a place for the paper book. But, I am curious to hear from more cube followers on this topic.

    Charlotte Hamaoui
    Turning Point Books

    • Mustapha Hamoui

      Thanks Charlotte for your input. Whenever I feel nostalgic for the smell and feel of paper, I remind myself that at one point people felt nostalgic for the smell and feel of horses, as they moved away from carriages to cars.

      Ps: Are we related? :)

  4. Maybe I am too oldschool person but I would never change time spent in nice bookstore choosing a book for some e – downloading, it´s a ritual for me! Not to say that from all these tablets my eyes are hurting and I can´t spill my tea over them like I did to my poor book. Book in your hands represent the story (where,how you bought it, who gave you…)…

  5. The saddest part is, a book used to be a great gift. Imagine giving an ebook as a gift… so impersonal

  6. I love books, but I think it is a bold and excellent strategic move that has been in the pipeline for them for some years, they have thought it through and everyone wins.

    I think print books will stay, but they will become more like collector’s items and for that reason I think there will be many more beautiful books created, not just cheap en masse productions, but books to treasure.

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