Are Printed Books Doomed Yet?

Yesterday, pocket full of enticing coupons, I browsed my favorite Borders looking for something interesting to purchase. As I wandered the increasingly sparse store, which is closing come January 2010 if not sooner, I felt a growing resistance to buying books printed on paper.

The problem for me is that I generally like technical books and read a lot of manga. Most technical books are obsolete the moment they are printed. So while I still love them, I refuse to pay $50 for a book that is out of date with no way to update. As for manga, with so much of it on the web, legal or not, it’s hard to justify buying anything beyond a few series I’m following right now.

These thoughts are not new to me, but a recent Borders ad had the Sony PRS 505 book reader on sale for $199, a tempting price. It’s not the Kindle, but still a good reader, though the reviews I read said it was prone to crashing on recharge and didn’t handle PDFs very well. Sigh, the Kindle is still too expensive for me… Anyway, I really want to fast forward to a time when all of the books and magazines I want to read can be bought and downloaded to my reader. And technical books can be updated when necessary. I have a Rails programming book that I bought the e-version of that went through a number of updates, for free. One of my favorite tech books ever and more than worth the extra cost of the digital version.

I cannot be the only person who feels this way. Let’s move on to digital books everywhere already!