One of the biggest reasons that the people who prefer digital reading have stated for the preference is mobility.
Note the picture above – which is easier – carrying ten or more textbooks, (which I remember doing regularly on journeys back and forth from China, Japan and Thailand) or this one device?
Beyond that, if you lose a book or it gets delayed which happens occasionally in transit, which was why I as a paranoid grad student used to pack my textbooks in my carryon, you are stuck. Digital books however can be loading to multiple devices, diversifying the chances of loss and the potential expenses of having to rebuy a book.
While at A&M University I was glad that most of my textbooks were available on the Kindle. Considering I wrote a papers more than once in the Singapore Airport on my iPad – the possibility of completing a program with anything else just wouldn’t have been feasible.
According to statistics, urbanization and migration are on the upswing, both resulting from increased globalization and industrialization. This is unsurprising.
The cost of shipping, especially when the move is temporary has started to expedite the mobile classes purchase of digital devices.
Practically speaking then, the more mobile and urban society gets, the more likely the digitalization of literacy is to continue.
Is this good, bad or neutral? Probably some of all. Like most things, it’s difficult and way too soon to say.
Increased mobility is likely to fuel more digital book and publication innovation. One of the most useful future features added to this digital/commuter paradigm is the ability to link up audio and digital books. This means that a commuter can listen to the book they are reading in the car on the way to work, read it digitally on their lunch break, and then listen more on the way home – without having to figure out where their place in the book is, the book will sync automatically. Given long commutes that people often find themselves taking, this would be a great benefit. Amazon is constantly pushing for better user integration, and the possibilities are pretty extensive.
It was also nice while commuting in Japan on the trains (and buses etc) to simply be able to pull up any book I might be reading at home on my iPhone at any point during the trip. Or if I was waiting for something – a long line by myself etc.
Digital books are changing travel and commutes.