Will eBooks ever replace paper books?

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Last week I started following a really fantastic conversation on LinkedIn about whether or not people believe that eBooks will ultimately replace paper-based books.

Opinions were varied across the board. Most of us agreed that, in the end, we can’t imagine life without our over-filled dusty bookshelves.

Below was my contribution to the conversation….we’d love to hear yours:
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There will always be a home for printed books. I love the record analogy. Some people still love their vinyl!

However, publishers, publishing professionals and authors need to understand that eBooks are the income-generating future of the publishing business. The price of eBook readers continues to come down (anyone remember when an iPod or a PDA was overpriced?). For avid readers, the cost of a Kindle can be offset within the first several months by money saved on purchases that would traditionally include shipping (Amazon), gas (driving to the store), and paying cover price (traditional retailers).

Just to fess up, I bought my first Kindle last year. Actually, my business partner bought it for me because I was vehemently opposed to the idea of an electronic eReader. I swore up and down that my Kindle could NEVER replace the joy I felt while curling up on the couch with a cup of coffee and a good – actual – book.

I’ve been eating my words ever since. The convenience, the ease of bringing multiple “books” while traveling, and the accessibility of having just about any book I want to read 90 seconds away via download has made me a true convert.

Will I give up my dusty bookshelves? Never. Will I continue to by hardcover/paperback books that I want to add to those shelves – classics, favorite authors, etc. Absolutely. Has the printed book become less a part of my reading experience? One hundred percent.

But, kind of like vinyl, I’ll never give them up completely.

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