Monday, March 17, 2008

Printed, Electronic and Audio Books

What will be the future of printed books? Printed book readers tend to be older citizens as the younger generation has become enamored with electronic forms of entertainment. Many forays into electronic books have been tried including those by Sony, Net Library (acquired by OCLC) and most recently’s Kindle. As people age and have difficulty with eye sight (macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma), two variations of standard print books appeal to older readers: large print editions and books on tape/CD. Although I can still read standard print with my thick glasses, I thoroughly enjoy audio books which I listen to whenever I’m driving by myself. Although I don’t drive a great deal, I’ve found that time for the normal commute (when I worked before retiring), errands, etc. adds up. Over the last five years, I’ve averaged listening to a book and a half a month while driving. In addition to the enjoyment of a good story, I’ve found my driving to be less stressful. Instead of cursing drivers ahead who won’t merge and lamenting getting stuck in traffic, now I sit back and listen to a good story. In our world of multi-media, I expect to see all forms of “reading” continue. This will include electronic books, audio books and print.

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