Is Bill Gates right about reading going completely online May 12, 2007Posted by Matsu in Business, Education, Information Technology, News, Technology, Web.
This week I read this blog post at the Chronicle of Higher Education highlighting Bill Gates’ statement that in the next five years (or so) everyone will be reading only online and printed material will eventually get phased out. You can read about Bill’s statements, which also talk about television, in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer article.
I think that the comments on the Chronicle’s blog are well representative of what people think of that. Many say they prefer to read online, others say they will never give up their books, magazines, and newspapers. I found that one comment summed up my own experience quite well. A person wrote that they do most of their technical or work-related reading online, but any recreational reading is done offline (printed matter). That’s my experience. I have not been able to make the shift to reading ebooks on my laptop or PDA. The experience simply is not the same. You can ask my coworkers what I do when I want to really ponder an e-mail… they will tell you I print it and mark it up. I can’t do that online as easily or freely as I can with my yellow highlighter and a pen.
One of Bill’s reasons that everyone will want to read online is that it will ‘always be up to date.’ Well, when it comes to books, newer is not always better. I like old books. And, I certainly don’t like the idea that my book’s content could change over time. I don’t subscribe to the assumption that new is always best.
Some day, as the technology becomes more like the experience with paper and highlighter, I may feel different. But for now, I’m happy with my printouts, books, magazines and pens to make them up.
What is your preference? Reading online or on paper? And, do you agree with Bill that reading will only be online in about 5 years?