I recently read this entry on my LiveJournal friends page, and I have to say I agree that people claiming books (or other physical media, for that matter) are OVER is annoying. I’m not necessarily saying there won’t be a shift in the long run, but there are still too many people who are used to the physical forms, and that includes me. I’ll occasionally obtain books or music online if it’s the only way or just more convenient, but the experience of reading a book on the computer just isn’t the same as reading an actual physical book. I don’t have a Kindle or comparable device, so I don’t know how that stacks up, but I would guess it’s not as satisfying. Music is a little trickier, because I listen to most music online, but I still like owning the music in physical form as well. Besides, it’s something to look at while you’re listening, which heightens the experience for me. That doesn’t always work out, though, because it seems increasingly common for CDs these days to have no liner notes or art at all.
Really, it’s all about what you’re used to. I grew up reading books and listening to cassettes, and it took a little while for me to get used to the CD format, but I later learned to prefer it. I could probably get used to reading everything electronically if I had to. The thing is, however, that I don’t WANT to. And I have to suspect there are enough other people who think the same way that books aren’t going away anytime soon. That doesn’t mean they NEVER will, just that media representatives with their Wave of the Future talk are seriously exaggerating these matters. I don’t know that technology moves like an express train, but more like one of those buses that stops at every intersection. You’re going to have plenty of chances to jump on. Just look at how long it took them to switch over to digital TV, and THAT was simply a matter of some people buying converter boxes. (My mom apparently still hasn’t done that.) Advertisers want to treat every new gadget as a revolution, but advertisers also want to treat a new marshmallow shape in Lucky Charms as a revolution, so why listen to them?
I’ve always kind of wondered about the people who line up to get new iPhones or iPads or whatever when they first come out. They must know by now that the earliest models tend to have lots of bugs and cost way too much, right? I guess it’s more of a collector thing than a desire to stay current at that point, though.