Printed books on the decline

Over the past 12 months we have seen many new tablets and e-book readers appear on the market. Remarkably, since the launch of the iPad three years ago, also other and older e-book reading devices seem to benefit from the technology hype around apples product. What appears to be smart marketing trick of the late Steve Jobs, could also be part of a much larger change of accessing text information in the information society. Today, I found a nice visualisation of some statistics about reading preferences of American students on

The visualisation shows quite nicely that digital devices dominate the information consumption of the American youth. Despite widespread complaints that digital devices are time killers, the students in the US agree largely that the technology saves them about one month every year. If you think of it - that is almost the amount of a major school holiday. 

The most interesting part of the visualisation is that it provides a 1:1 comparison and does not report about new features that e-books offer that printed material cannot provide at all. Just think about the automatic dictionary lookup in amazon's kindle. But even without such innovative features it appears that young people have a strong preference to digital material. I guess this preference is going to increase with a more widely distribution of tablet computers.

The visualisation indicates that digital information is already widely accepted and used among students. More importantly, it supercedes the relevance of printed material already in the youth's daily life. The table computer revolution appears from this perspective just as meeting a growing societal needs. The current generation of tablets incorporates the understanding that accessing information is no longer a desktop activity. It seems that this understanding will accellarate the disappearing of printed material from the student's bags and possibly even desks or bookshelfs.

This raises the question about the future use of bookshelfs...

Digital devices to replace textbooks

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