Do you read e-books or paper books on World Book Day?

  Chen Tianxiang’s library in Fudan dormitory. Source: Photo courtesy of respondents

  BEIJING, Beijing, April 23 (Qiu Yu) April 23 is World Reading Day. Today, with the development of digital reading, the debate about whether e-books will replace paper books has always existed. The appearance of "shared books" seems to open a new window for the development of paper books.

  From 8,000 books to several hard disk e-books.

  Xueba, who collected thousands of books in his dormitory, now likes to read books with e-readers.

  In 2013, Chen Tianxiang was a senior in history department of Fudan University. He became popular because he collected about 8,000 books in his dormitory and lent them to his classmates. He was called "curator" and "schoolmaster".

  Chen Tianxiang engaged in literature and history related work after graduation, and still kept the habit of buying books and reading. He bought books online and offline every week, and also bought and collected ancient books and old magazines that "shine at the moment". At present, there are more than 20,000 books in the family.

  Chen Tianxiang’s family library. Source: Photo courtesy of respondents

  The difference is that Chen Tianxiang is more accustomed to reading e-books when the space is narrow and it is not convenient to read paper books, such as crowded subway, or when reading fragmented and some popular online novels.

  "E-books are easy to carry, and some have search and labeling functions, making it easy to find." He told the reporter of Zhongxin. com that some paper books are hard to buy and electronic versions can be found online. In addition, e-books make access to information cheaper.

  At present, there are several hard disk e-book resources in Chen Tianxiang, and retrieval websites and databases have been sorted out and set up.

  The penetration rate of e-reading is 90%

  Chen Tianxiang’s 8,000 books occupy a whole dormitory, and a small reader can hold thousands of e-books. For book lovers who rent houses and often move, it is a trouble to carry a large number of books.

  It occupies a lot of land, it is laborious to move books, the price is high, and it is inconvenient to share … … These shortcomings of paper books make many people turn to electronic reading.

  Amazon China 2017 National Reading Report shows that the popularity of e-reading is on the rise, and the proportion of respondents who have read e-books is 6 percentage points higher than that in 2016, reaching 90%.

  According to the report, 64% of the respondents believe that e-reading helps to improve the overall reading volume, and the convenience of e-books makes the fragmentation time more fully utilized.

  Data Map: A coffee shop that provides e-book reading. China News Agency issued Wang Luxian photo

  Although the penetration rate is getting higher and higher, Huang Guofeng, an analyst at Analysys think tank, believes that e-reading still has a lot of room for development and there are also some problems. "China’s e-reading has not yet reached a very mature stage, and the number of potential users has not yet touched the ceiling." He said.

  In an interview with, Huang Guofeng said that in terms of content, in addition to common online literature and published books, audio content and comics are beginning to appear on the platform now, and there may be more content forms in the future. In terms of user payment, the user’s awareness of payment still needs to be strengthened, and the problem of piracy still exists.

  There are still people who like the "texture" of paper books.

  For some people, reading more e-books does not mean giving up paper books.

  When answering "Do you prefer e-books or paper books" on Zhihu, some netizens said, "I still like paper books when I read some knowledge and technical books, so it doesn’t cost my eyes, and more importantly, there is a sense of texture and heaviness, which e-books can’t compare with; A good book should be read in your hand. "

  A special bookstore in Yangmeizhu Xiejie, Beijing is selling books at a discount. Zhongxin. com reporter Yan photo

  Chen Tianxiang used "warmth" to describe the reading experience of paper books. "If you want to calm down and read systematically, I prefer to put a cup of fragrant tea or coffee at hand in a quiet night and read it carefully. When touching paper, you can feel a kind of warmth from the blood of culture flowing at your fingertips, not as cold and unfamiliar as the screen of an e-reader. "

  He said that the goal of the continuous upgrading and evolution of the screen of e-readers is to be closer to the ecology of reading paper books. Even so, the electronic screen does not have the comfortable touch unique to paper books.

  The data shows that paper books are still favored by more than half of readers. According to the national reading survey published by China Press and Publication Research Institute, in 2016, 51.6% of adult citizens preferred to "read with a paper book".

  Will paper books disappear in the future?

  Although there is still a market for paper books at present, will such books disappear in the more distant future?

  "My attitude is to let nature take its course. What changes is only the carrier of knowledge, not the knowledge itself." Chen Tianxiang said that e-readers are very popular now, and new technologies may be popular in the future, such as books combined with virtual technology (VR). Wearing glasses is like being in a library, and people are reading in a virtual world. It’s just a different reading experience.

  Data Map: An 8-year-old boy is experiencing "VR reading". Liu Zhankun photo

  Xu Shengguo, director of the National Reading Research and Promotion Center, said in an interview with the media that more than half of readers still tend to read paper books, which shows that traditional paper books still have vitality.

  He believes that although digital reading is fast and convenient, it is only suitable for fast and fragmented shallow reading, and traditional paper reading is more suitable for systematic deep reading. Readers’ demand for deep reading will not disappear, so paper books will not disappear. For a long time, traditional paper books and digital reading methods will still coexist.

  Extension — —

  "Sharing Books" Mode in the Internet Age

  The internet era has spawned the "shared book" model, which may open the market for paper books.

  Take the "borrower" as an example, its operation mode is that after the user selects the book on the platform, the platform collects the deposit and service fee according to the pricing of the book, and the service fee includes the express delivery and packaging fee. The platform purchases books and delivers them to the door by express delivery. Users send books back at their own expense after reading them, and voluntarily pay a certain wear and tear fee.

  Chen Dongzan, the founder of the borrower, told the reporter of that in April this year, the borrower received about 20 bills every day, and the deposit for each bill was mostly around 300 yuan. "If you borrow 10 books, you will get an average of only three or four yuan for a book, which is cheaper than buying genuine paper books and e-books, and you can read them indefinitely."

  Books that the "borrower" is going to send. Source: Photo courtesy of the "borrower" platform.

  However, some people are not optimistic about this model, because the audience is small, the logistics cost is too high, and there is no perfect credit system to prevent malicious destruction of books.

  "People who like reading generally cherish books. In the past year, there were only two cases that obviously didn’t care about books, and we will blacklist them." Chen Dongzan said that although it is voluntary payment, the payment rate of wear and tear fees is very high.

  He also admitted that the express delivery cost of "shared books" is really high, and different from bike-sharing, there are too many kinds of books, users’ demands are varied, and the platform is more complicated to operate, which needs further improvement. (End)