There are many ways for people to get information these days, especially after the digital revolution that came with the advent of the Internet turned the world upside down. Right now the old ways of waiting for letters to come in the mail and for every document to be transferred on pieces of paper seems quite antiquated. Yet there is still an argument to be made for transferring information by printed materials, but without a doubt the Internet has taken over much of the way people communicate.
A Change in Reading Habits?
Just twenty-five years ago, all of our information that was read came to us by printed materials like books and magazines. Magazines were a popular way to read up on favorite topics, from engineering to thin film to movies, fashion and art. The interesting thing is that magazines are still printed and sent out today, yet most magazine and newspaper publishers now have digital and print editions.
The Emotional Connection to Books
In the midst of all these changes, book publishers seemed to be looking down an abyss, as so much written material was being taken in online. Something surprising happened in the past few years though, which took many publishers by surprise. What happened is that the sales of printed books stabilized, and sales of kindle or ebooks stabilized. What is apparent now is that people really do like to read books and magazines in print, even if they could get the same information in digital form. Books (and many magazines) are something that people like to own and to hold while they read. Coffee table books are enjoyable objects to hold and enjoy, and holding a tablet with the same photos just isn’t the same for many people.
What’s interesting in all of this is that it shows how hard it can be to predict trends in the face of massive change. It seemed inevitable that books will fall victim to the Internet’s dominance, but people’s emotional connection to books stopped that from happening, and there’s something deeply reassuring about that, actually.