Need to embrace a green new era

Joyce Wong
Joyce Wong |

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By Joyce Wong, Renaissance College

Since climate change has been deemed a global crisis, people have entered a new age - green living. Eco-friendly technologies are becoming more popular and they are 'greening' an important aspect of life - books.

Electronic readers are the latest gadgets that have captured the public's attention - there's the Amazon's Kindle, Barnes & Noble's Nook, and Apple's newcomer iPad. Watching the emergence of e-readers, one cannot help but wonder about the future of publishing and the traditional book.

With 3G wireless coverage, books are only a click away via a digital reader. No power or paper is needed to display text, making e-readers much more eco-friendly compared to regular books.

There's another advantage. With electronic readers, you don't have to carry your books around.

Nowadays, almost all major newspapers and magazines, such as The New York Times, Newsweek, Reader's Digest and National Geographic, offer online articles or subscriptions. It seems only natural for regular books to die out next, and if that is the case, the future of publishing is equally grim.

However, my opinion is that books are far from dying out; they are simply going through an evolution to suit a new age of technology.

Writing used to be etched on stones first, then written on scrolls, then printed with ink. Now it has been transformed into digital files.

Publishing will not die out either. Online retailer Amazon and book publisher Macmillan are getting closer to resolving a pricing dispute over Macmillan's electronic books. This shows publishers are also adapting to a new digital era.

As long as there is a demand for books, authors will need publishers because they provide a channel for writers to promote their work.

What's more, there will always be people who prefer to curl up with a traditional book rather than an e-reader.

It is the same in music. Although MPs are popular today, many people still buy CDs or even old-fashioned vinyl records.

So who could be the real loser with the domination of e-readers? The printing press.

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