The Last Page

Fahrenheit 451 is a novel by an American writer Ray Bradbury, first published in 1953. It is regarded as one of his best works. It presents a future American society where books are outlawed, and firemen are ordered to burn any that are found. Our society is similar with paper books except they aren’t outlawed; we will be responsible for the destruction to paper books. E-books have surged in popularity in recent years, but where they are headed and what effect this will ultimately have on the printed word is unknown. Printed books are destined to eventually join the ranks of scrolls and clay tablets, to be displayed in collectors glass cases with others?

What we do know, according to a survey done last year by Pew Research, is that half of American adults now own a tablet or e-reader and that three in ten read an e-book in 2013. Although, printed books remain the most popular means of reading, over the past decade e-books have made a valiant effort at catching up. In 2007, with Amazon’s release of the Kindle, almost immediately, the device began causing dilemmas in the publishing industry. From 2008 to 2010 e-book sales skyrocketed, jumping up to 1,260% the New York Times reports. Adding to the e-books, Nook evolved, and so did the iPad, which has be releasing books in the iBooks Store. By that time, the publishing industry had lost all possible ability to regain any initiative and momentum. In 2011, as Borders Books declared bankruptcy, e-books popularity continued to steadily rise though not exponentially. According to Wolf and others research findings, electronic reading can negatively impact the way the brain responds to text, including reading comprehension, focus and the ability to maintain attention to details in certain events.

While it is unlikely that books will disappear in the near future, as years pass, it is likely that consumers will begin to question the benefits of books, which may slowly become outweighed by the disadvantages: being heavy, not very portable, etc. Though, the tradition and the aesthetic quality of paper books are something that cannot be negated. Nonetheless, with the integration of technology, their future remains uncertain.

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