Week 3: Books or Magazines Book Will Never Die

by Cristina Melchior

Some of us, book lovers, resist abandoning the romantic idea of the small bookstore in the country town as the meeting point of mothers taking children for a session of reading. The bookstore in which the owner knows most of the customers.

Nevertheless, most part of my life, I have lived in large urban centers and this kind of bookstore vanished, being replaced by Megastores. It doesn’t mean I wasn’t known at the bookstores I used to go. As a regular attendee, sellers knew me by name. I knew from memory the shelves that held the books addressing issues of my interest.

In the last years, I have read some articles predicting the death of books due to the lack of interest of reading itself. The habit of reading books has been challenged by the rise of digital technology represented by shorter articles published by bloggers, television series based on bestsellers and available on subscription channels or you-tubers performers, just to mention some examples. Despite all competition, only the bookshops have actually suffered serious damage. More and more, physical bookstores have been replaced by virtual booksellers, especially Amazon. I myself have preferred to buy books online, even the paper books.  It is not only easier to find any title I want, but it is also cheaper.

From the perspective of developed countries as the United States, people have the chance to choose to buy a paper book or a digital one. It is a matter of taste, choosing the better price or being fashionable. Nevertheless, digital books and the respective e-readers allow people from wherever place in the world to have access to the same book at the same time.

Imagine the teenager living in a small developing country in Africa have the same opportunity of reading the last release of Harry Porter at the same time of a teen from Denmark. It was something unthinkable before the development of digital technology.

Maybe the grandchildren of my grandchildren will only know paper books as museum pieces, but I do believe they will still keep reading books. The shell will be different, probably the e-reader and the multipurpose tablet will be obsoleted. Maybe the content and the format will be different. But I believe the book as a medium of mass communication will remain indefinitely.

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