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Do you think paper-based books will eventually become a thing of the past as digital books become more popular?

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No, instead it will be opposite...digital books won't last long as people will focus more on 'good' eyesight.

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Books have been around in one form or another for hundreds of years, maybe thousands, and I can't imagine a society where there are no books. Why would anyone want to read a book digitally? Sitting at the beach, by a pool, on a park bench, in bed or just by the window on a rainy day...with a book, yes, I have done so many times. But with an online reader? Never.

And how about the feel and smell of the pages of a new book?

Well-written books can take you into another world for a few hours. And you don't have to worry about technical glitches.

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Not unless we invent a digital book that never runs out of power, never needs recharging and never has hardware/software problems or ever breaks.

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Not unless we invent a digital book that never runs out of power, never needs recharging and never has hardware/software problems or ever breaks.

... and can be read in the bathtub.

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Never, the feeling of handling a book, turning its pages can never be replaced.

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I hope not.

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Interesting question this. With devices such as smart phones, it is possible to install applications and then get books for free courtesy of various websites (the one that readily comes to mind is Gutenberg). At the same time, however, reading large volumes of material on a small screen for long periods of time is a bit too stressful for the eyes.

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I hope they don't, but you can never say never. I've never used a digital book, but I know that if I use a computer for too long my eyes eventually become very sore. Will the same happen with digital book? If so I can't imagine paper books completely disappearing.

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Maybe, if they can make them strong enough to endure being squashed on a full train at rush hour...

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I don't think so. Books will always be important, and I can't imagine replacing a real book with a digital one, where I have to be connected to a power source to read it. Aren't my eyes enough? And I believe that there are a lot of people who feel the same way.

The real problem is getting rid of all of the crappy books out there that are just wastes of paper. How efficient is recycling, that's what I have to wonder.

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I thought computers were supposed to reduce the need for paper in offices......every place i go to the paper on the desks resembles a metropolis of building towers.....my answer is no.

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I think they will never replace the printed book, but they are convenient when commuting on the train or bus. I prefer printed material, such as books, magazines and newspapers, but on a crowded train or bus, fugetaboutit! Someone mentioned Gutenberg, which is a great source for free and rare books. They also have some audiobooks available, which I also find great for commutes. If you want to read some free Japanese books, check out Aozora Bunko. Don't recommend it, but you could print out the books you download, and read them that way too, but that kind of defeats the purpose.

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I like the idea of an e-book reader. Just waiting for Apple to downscale the iPad to the size of a Kindle or a Nook. Want one with internet/video capability along with the e-book reader feature.

I would rather have a paperback/hardcover book for reference or for enjoyment. When the book and the e-book cost almost the same I would rather pay for the book because it is nice to own it. The e-book version is really for conveniences as to getting the latest information from the web. The big plus about the e-book reader is the number of title choices.

Hopefully, the paperback/hardcover book stays around for years to come.

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I doubt paper books will ever be phased out completely. I've got a Kindle because I can't get many English books in Japan, but I definitely still prefer real books. Like Ossan America said, books don't need charging or have software problems - my Kindle likes to freeze, which makes reading difficult. The smell of a book, the action of literally turning pages, things like that are much more comforting than pressing buttons to me. And when it comes to rare books, it's doubtful many of those will be uploaded to the e-readers' library.

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I hope not.

I like actually owning something, not just

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I don't think it'll disappear but I have to say, as an avid reader, I love my ereader. I've been using it now for more than three years and I just don't think I could live without it. It's easy to carry around, I don't have to go to the library all the time and almost all my documents/PDF/HTML/txt... docs are easily read on it. Easy to buy books, get them in the reader and, well, that's it really.

I can't remember the last time I actually read a paper-based book, and I read a lot.

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For the mean time, yes. But, wait to see what happens in 2012. We could all (the survivors, that is) be shunted back into the dark ages.

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For the first we all seem to agree on this one. Next question please JT! Something more debatable.

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no

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Yes. In 50 years, when the current generation dies,

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Of course not. The vast majority of the world's population cannot afford digital books.

School children from low middle class to poor families may resort to buying second hand books or take donations from charities in order to study; digital books are an elitist commodity and will continue to do so for as long as there are two worlds in the same planet: the so called first, and the so called third.

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I think that digital books will catch on bigtime with all generations in Japan, because:

They are simply easier to carry around, and easy to read on the train, which is a boon for working people and students. The print size can be adjusted, which is handy for elderly people with failing eyesight. There just isn't enough paper to go around anyway.

On the other hand, I'll miss the sensual experience of holding a book and turning the pages.

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A book never requires batteries, you can throw it around without breaking, you can drop it, spill stuff on it (and still be readable), and lose one without worrying too much.

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Computers were supposed to make offices paperless, instead it created more paperwork.

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No. I would definately hope for the opposite. People spend far to much time in front ot compture screens. printed books will always be with us.

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You all sound like the people who used to warn me that watching too much TV would give me square eyes! Or the people who regarded my cutting edge Walkman with fear and distrust.

Do you still buy cassette tapes? Do you make mixed tapes by recording songs from the radio? Do you stay at home and wait by the (rotary dial) phone for a call from a loved one? By the way, when was the last time you wrote an actual pen-and-paper letter to a loved one?

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I use blue ray and have a nice HD tv at home.

You miss the point. Were not computers supposed to make offices paperless? Look at what happened, it made offices fill with more paper. You can't replace paper because people want something tangible hard. With a old fashion book, you can throw it away, you can lose it, you can toss it around without worrying about much. You can't do that with a lot of technological equipment. I can throw my book around, i can't throw around a ipad. Books don't require batteries. Oh, the last time I wrote a pen-paper letter was on mother's day, because sending a REAL card is a lot more personal and better then a silly e-card.

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Not to mention we still have books around from hundreds if not thousands of years ago. Which do you think will last longer? That big old dictionary in your closet or your iphone 70 years from now?

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not at all. not even close.

paper can be made locally from recycled materials and of course can be grown as trees, will be around for decades.

a Kindle and their ilk require that we smelt heavy metals and use special rare earth metals such that 95% of which come from China. Requires batteries, requires an Internet connection to download to the device. However I can see the attraction if overseas with a lack of selection, but for the majority in a country like Japan less so. Unlikely to have the same level of selection in the Japanese language.

Supporting massive pollution just because it's out of sight out of mind doesn't mean that it doesn't still happen.

Pulp and paper mills are not ideal either, dioxin production is a big no no, but at least the materials are natural and by recycling paper (take my old computer books..pleeease) it can at least have another life.

It's remarkable that for a generation that supposed to be 'green' how ridiculous it is to see the marketplace reward yet more junk produced that create and stain the earth. Like swiffer all going to landfill. Congrats.

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