This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
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Johannes Gutenberg might not have imagined that his invention of the printing press would have had such a huge impact on society. Since the printing press people’s ideas were collected in a new way, and it enabled many more books to be published in a much shorter period of time. What would he say if he found out that now, more than 500 years after his invention, people can save books in one single device displaying one page of a book that changes to another with the press of a button?
At the Publishing Business Conference in March 2012, 50% of all attendees lacked the desire to purchase e-books, and also many usual e-book readers still bought printed books. This shows that, for now at least, e-books have not outshone the popularity of printed books. If Gutenberg lived today, maybe he would enjoy the convenience of a simple e-book download – having many books while at the same time only feeling the weight of an e-reader. But would he complain about not having the feeling of turning a page and the smell of the paper, I wonder…
Traditional book readers claim that only a printed book is a real book. They say it is something you can hold onto all your life, you can collect and touch. While an e-book, a saved file on an e-reader, PC, smartphone or tablet, can be criticised like many other electronic inventions for being less permanent as their systems break easily and are renewed constantly. Nonetheless, the new generation expects every book that comes out to be available in an e-book format. It is interesting however, to see that it isn’t only new books that are converted into e-book format, because for example Lewis Carroll’s famous story has been made into an ‘Alice's Adventures In Wonderland’ ebook, even when the original printed version already was a well-known classic. However, to become a bestselling e-book, an e-book has to be sold only a couple of thousand times, which happened with books such as the ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ e-book, or the ‘The Hunger Games’ and the ‘One Day’ e-books.
Thus we might say that the invention of the e-book has not been as revolutionary as that of the printing press. However, the real impact of the invention of the printing press was not understood until many years later, and we can therefore conclude that the true impact of the concept of the e-book has not been fully measured yet.