Working within the book industry, perhaps the most frequent question I get is whether or not I think e-books and e-readers are going to replace physical books and bookstores.
I always answer no, at least not within my own lifetime.
And it’s the other questions I get concerning e-readers that are why, even beyond my own never-ending and irrepressible love of clinging to an actual book like it’s a long-lost friend.
For illustrative (read: entertainment) purposes, here are a few of my favourites thus far!
“So this thing comes preloaded with fifty thousand books for free?” (This as I was showing him the clearly-labeled “Shop” function.)
“Is this a telephone?” (Even more bizarrely, this question then somehow dissolved into the customer and I having an absolutely lovely conversation on Secretariat, of all things, so I confess I did consider it time well spent.)
“Hey, so where [within the physical store itself] do you guys have your e-books?” (“But I saw a sign about e-books!” was then the response to my patiently attempting to explain that e-books are not actually physical objects that we can stock in-store.)
“DOES THIS WORK IN NIGERIA?”
(As the aforementioned customer turns the device furiously over and over in his hands) “WHERE ARE THE INTARNETS?!“
Say what you will about e-readers, and how they are the reading experience of the future.
My money is still on there being a solid market for physical books for a good long while yet. :)