A few years ago, nobody could have imagined buying a whole dictionary or encyclopedia on CD-Rom – but we do now, and it’s a booming business. Are e-books set to take over from the printed word? Well, some multimedia companies are predicting that, in a few years time, production of newspapers and magazines will have been halved, as we will be turning to our computers to get the latest news. But how do people feel about reading their daily newspaper, or even their favourite novels, on their computer screens? Would you be happy to get your newspaper on the screen, or do you still prefer turning those pages?
It is certainly a question that we are going to have to think about soon. Technology produces new products every day and the publishing industry is already showing great interest in the future of the e-book. Many newspapers are already online; and you can read them on screen at home, or even on your mobile phone.
As for e-books, despite the fact that the technology has not been fully developed yet, and an e-book that you can carry about with you is still much more expensive than an ordinary book, researchers claim that soon e-books will become much cheaper than paper versions and will be much more popular.
It looks as if people are already interested in the general idea. Stephen King, the best-selling writer of horror books, posted his newest short story on the Internet and it sold more copies in its first days than many of his printed novels had. To publishers, this meant the arrival of the e-book!
Well, is this really the end of the book and the newspaper? I doubt it, and it seems that even Stephen King agrees. Despite his success in the Internet, he does not seem to think anything can replace the book! This is partly because, although we like to think that technology is capable of anything, it isn’t. At least, not yet! First of all, Internet is slow. It took 25 hours for Associated Press to download Stephen King’s story. This is because lack of bandwidth makes it very slow to send material, especially pictures, over the Internet. Even though work is constantly being carried out to solve this problem, demand for the Internet is increasing too fast for scientists to keep up. What is more, it takes much longer for us to read on the net. Did you know that we can read 50% more quickly on paper than we can on a computer screen?