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The Digital Reading Revolution

The Internet had a lot to do with a relative slump in book sales and the subculture of bookworms and those searching for creative inspiration. The digital revolution started years ago and the world wide web offered information at the touch of a few buttons even with relatively slow download speeds at the start. Now, access to information is nearly instantaneous and practically everyone you know owns a computer, tablet or smart phone that keeps them connected to everything they could desire at all times. Books took a back seat to HD television and movies, streaming media and even online concerts because the Internet and the whole digital revolution gave people choices. And then came ebooks and things started to change.

Read It Now
Ebooks are digital copies of print copies of books that you’d find at more bookstores. Most towns these days sport at least one bookstore and normally at least one pre-owned bookstore as the secondary market continues to grow. While ebooks aren’t always available at every bookstore, their availability is growing by leaps and bounds.
All ebooks have several things in common and there are several features that ebooks can have, but don’t always.

They come in specialized formats that require a specific reading program or application to access, such as .mobi, .lit, .epub and several others.   
They are designed to be simple presentations of books, just like a print page would be. They can and often do include embellishments found in print books or between chapters.
They are normally optimized for e-ink displays.
They can, but don’t always, include page numbers and chapter breaks.
Many come programmed with an active index, that allows you to surf to a particular chapter or subheading just by clicking a link.

Possibly the best thing about ebooks is that they can be purchased and delivered digitally via the Internet. E-readers like the Nook ebooks offer built-in stores that give customers shopping options right from their reading platform. Popular book retailers also often have at least a small selection of their best sellers as digital copies and even libraries are starting to expand into electronic versions of books so they can be offered to more customers more often.

Reading Revolutionized
Ebooks have helped to start a digital reading revolution for a subculture that the digital age seemed to ignore for a long time. Many people cite the smell and feel of a print book as part of the experience of reading that they love and it’s true that ebooks don’t come with this tactile association. Thanks to electronic paper (e-ink) displays, however, the visual appeal of a book and the ease on your eyes is practically the same. Furthermore because of their small size, many ebooks are able to be carried in a relatively small amount of storage space. Ereaders are often no larger than a very thin paperback book and weigh much less, making them ultra-portable.

Many bibliophiles took a hardline stance against ereaders, saying their experience with the physical copies was preferable, but slowly many have been won over. It’s one thing to throw a few paperbacks into your bag before a trip to the beach, but if you have a large library you might have a difficult time picking just one or two to take with you. What if you could take them all with you? Then, no matter what you’re feeling like as you relax, you have it at your fingertips.

The Future of Ebooks
With the digital revolution constantly changing and evolving the way we interact with our world, no matter your preferences, it seems that ebooks are here to stay. In fact, it’s a generally accepted fact that ebooks will make up about 50 percent of all revenue within the next 5 years. Every publishing group has a different take on what this means for book sales and print, but there is some general consensus about what this shift in focus could mean.

Better access by authors to publishing solutions   
Better access to and tracking of consumer interest
Better ability to expand into new locales
Better cost to sales ratio because storage for physical books will be less necessary

Revolution Now
Whether you like your print books and the smell of an old leather cover, or are willing to accept the electronic format for the benefit of carrying your whole library with you, it’s clear that the books aren’t going anywhere. It’s just how they’ll be accessible that’s slowly but surely changing as the digital revolution takes over the publishing industry world-wide.
As you can see, there are many perks to the digital copies of the books you know and love, from their portability to accessibility without travel to sharing them with friends and loved ones; the digital reading revolution is making it easier to do what you love and share a good book, anywhere.

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

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