Respecting a traditional tool


“With the diffusion of electronic books and portable information devices in the world, a traditional printed book would disappear within 5 years.” This is the theory of the American scientist, Nicholas Negropunte insisting in the CNN program. He established the peace project where they provide each child with one laptop in developing countries.

Certainly, it is overwhelming that e-book is easy to manage and carry as well as convenient with multimedia characteristics. In addition, everyone in the world could probably be an author of e-book and publish it without professional writing skills. At the same time, everyone in the world can peruse it, even without payment. This is so-called “mass amateurization.” According to the reading in this week, Clay Shirky also emphasizes that “in a world where publishing is that efficient, it is no longer an activity worth paying for.”

However, my argument starts from here. I think that a printed paper book is a persistent medium which will stay forever in the future even though people like Nicholas exaggerate print medium would disappear soon. Why do I think so? This is because in comparison with digital devices which are shapeless, there is a strong feeling for book lovers that they want to own the book they love. Purchasing an e-book just means that purchasing the right to access to a particular data, resulting in them feeling different sense of possession. Moreover, a certain survey ( shows that “74 % of the students still prefer printed books over their digital counterparts, and only 13% of the students prefer to buy e-books.”

Although the same things may possibly be written in both a paper book and electronic book, each of them has various advantages and disadvantages. It can be easily expected that further improvement of technology leads to decreased demand of a printed book. However, we should become the reader who can efficiently utilize positive points from both of them.



Shirky, C. (2002). Weblogs and the Mass Amateurization of Publishing


One thought on “Respecting a traditional tool

  1. I completely agree. I know so many people who would rather be shot than give up their copy of their favourite classic or cheapen their favourite author’s works by downloading them onto an LED screen. I believe that the print medium will continue as a niche market, exclusively perused by passionate book-lovers still yearning for the complete readers experience. I personally prefer my books to be physical as it allows me to write on them, leave bookmarks and ‘personalise’ my experience as such in reading. I found that survey extremely interesting though. I thought the number of students that prefer e-books would be far higher, I guess it does prove that ‘old habits die hard’.

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