Is the End Near for Printed Books? (poll)

books as museum exhibitWhen you get to read some really interesting posts and see some good debate from really smart people, it generally means that there’s a really good poll question just waiting  to be unearthed and published. So it is with the idea that the time for printed books may be at an end.

This all started with a really interesting blog from Seth Godin in which he predicts the soon-to-be-realized demise of the printed book because the ecosystem no longer supports it. Val Swisher took up the discussion in her blog Content Rules, and extended it over to Google+ where various folk (those of the really smart ilk mentioned above) weigh the pros and cons.

What does the rise of the ebook really mean for avid readers? Val points out that she continues to buy textbooks, and there’s something to be said for confidence gained in getting a citation from a book you can hold, read, smell, or even use to prop open the office door. Commenter Marc Schnau believes many avid readers will never part with their printed books, because the electronic reading devices just don’t do the trick. Our very own Al Martine envisions a future where 3D printing could take a role in allowing us to print and bind our own books. As for me, I’m proud of my collection of 2,000 novels, textbooks, biographies, and histories, and can happily spend hours sitting on the floor in the sci-fi section of a dwindling number of bookstores.  Then again, I do like the convenience of reading on my iPad.

Now it’s your turn to weigh in on the future of printed books.  Simple yes /no question with ample opportunity to give us your vision of the future–Fahrenheit 451 or Star Trek tricorders? Or somewhere in between? Will libraries become museums, curating quaint and curious collections of paperbacks, pasteboard and leather bound tomes?  And what does the future of the printed book mean for those who make their livings composing the material that’s printed?

Take a few minutes to vote in the poll and provide a few thoughts in the comments.

Do printed and bound books have a future in modern society?

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