I don’t think so.
With the Kindle coming out this week (see here and here for GeekBrief coverage and here is one of several posts at TechCrunch), I’ve been musing about, naturally, physical books being replaced by technological gadgets — or at least something not printed. Side note: What would that do to libraries?
And today there’s yet another bit of news about newspaper print ad revenue going down, down, down and not being replaced (entirely) by online ad revenue.
The above-linked piece on ad revenue more than hints that the printed word is dead, or at least dying. I don’t agree with that.
First of all, Kindle (and its predecessors) still has a long ways to go before they seriously take a chunk out of the book market. Reviewers unanimously comment on the ugliness of this device, and the $400 price tag is a huge hurdle. Even after a person takes that step, he or she must still pay $10 or so for each book. The books aren’t transferable to or from the device. As much as I’m a voracious reader, I don’t buy most of the books I read; I get them from the library or borrow them from friends. I’m also skeptical (although the Kindle’s Amazon-ness may remedy this) about the availability of the tomes I want to read via such media. This is also the problem, for me, with things such as PaperbackSwap and BookMooch.
OK, back to newspapers. It’s particularly true of newspapers in large markets: Other forms of media are taking the place of print news. We can get national (and most international) news anywhere. Local, hometown news is a different story. I can’t get the news of my town anywhere but the local newspaper. The news content is available online, albeit with a few-day delay. And if I want to know what’s playing at the local six-plex? I need a print subscription of the paper. The ad content isn’t online, and the theater doesn’t even have a marquis. If I don’t have a newspaper in my hand, I won’t know what’s showing unless I drive to the theater, get out of the car and walk to the window to read the sign. (The theater doesn’t have a website, much to my dismay.)
EDIT: See the comments below for more the place to find movie times at the Siloam Springs movie theater.
None of this is likely to change anytime soon, on the local level. And it’s really hard for me to even think about replacing my books with a gadget.