Are books passé in a digital world?
Printed books are being circulated for several hundred years now. It has played a significant role in the education sector until now and probably in the near future. Several medium were developed to replace books such as cd, dvd, e-book reader, and the latest is kindle. No matter how stiff the competition has been over the years, books still stands out as the hands down choice by educators and learners.
In this predominant digital world, books did not wither but it just got better. Using advance technologies, books are now easier to develop, publish and maintain. With the proliferation of software and advance computer hardware and other devices, books were enhanced. Technology has addressed some of the limitations of printed books such as publishing, and maintenance. Using advance technologies, books are now easier to publish, more presentable, colourful, eye-catching, and enjoyable to read. Authors of books find it easier to write using computers, thus making them more productive and creative. I can safely say that books benefitted immensely from the advancement in technology. This is the reason why books cannot be considered as obsolete in this digital world. Weighing all the advantages and limitations of books, it will still weather all the storms and competitions even in the near future. Technological advancement will just be a complement but will not truly eliminate books. Technological growth does not mean death for books but even boost it at the proper time. Books can be digitized, like what Google is aiming, and made it available online. However, I do not believe that everyone can adapt easily to such kind of technology and Google still has to contend the issue of copyright and unlimited distribution. Amazon’s Kindle is a good technological complement for those who are on the go. But it still has its limitations like other technological gadgets. Recurring expenses attributed to using technology is a disadvantage that weighs so much. When you buy books, the expense ends there. When you buy gadgets, or technological devices, expense will be continuous such as electric consumption, upgrades, and maintenance.
University of the Philippines-Open University(UPOU) is one of the many distance education(DE) institutions that uses Information technology to provide education to its learners. Using moodle, UPOU was able to provide its students with online resources like, pdf files of course guide, and manual. But UPOU still provides printed output of this manual. Information technology has its own limitations that need to be addressed first before adapting a truly bookless educational world. This gap includes speed of internet connection, security, software and hardware capability and reliability like storage devices. Based on experience, moodle is so slow especially during times where it is perceived that all online learners are free to visit there degree sites. Not all learners have a consistent and reliable connection to the internet. .
To conclude, books are still very strong and it might gain more strength with the support of technology. Production of books will still be very attractive for publishers because authors will continue to write, modify and enhance their written works at a very fast pace. So? Who says that books are passé in this digital world?