A book can simply be defined as a set of written, printed, or blank pages, fastened along one side and encased between protective covers. Books are essential for learning processes and other purposes. The idea of people ceasing to own books in the future is in essence not possible due to people’s high preference to own and read books and how significant books are. They have been, are and will be important for both skills and knowledge acquisition and for hobbies, leisure and interests. The process of learning requires relevant books for better accomplishment of the studies of concern although people can learn through other means than just books.
The advancement of science and technology has abruptly changed the potential of books in the whole process of learning and other constructive activities. People, particularly students, currently prefer to use the available technological facilities such as computers and other electronic devices for learning and other purposes. In my opinion, in the future the importance of books will be reduced but will not be completely eliminated as a result of the advancement of science and technology. This is because, through the use of the electronic facilities we have, particularly computers, students and other people can get all the necessary materials that are also available from books – but these technologies are not simple to use, nor accessible and affordable to all, especially in poor and rural contexts.
A good and real example is what is happening with university students and staff here in Tanzania and other countries worldwide. The use of computers for students is essential compared to books as students actually use computers in performing their day to day activities including securing learning materials, typing, printing and photocopying their assignments, personal studies and other useful tasks. However, students still own different books for different purposes. For example, some use books especially historic books for leisure, interests and hobbies. They feel more comfortable reading books rather than reading from electronic facilities.
This is also the case for most other people in different angles and disciplines, especially for staffs performing different tasks in the office. The lecturers for example prefer to use computers over books in preparing their teaching materials and more generally in their subject presentations but they especially use the computers for accessing reference materials and not relying completely on electronic facilities. This signifies that, in the future, books will be of less significance compared to technological facilities but people will continue to own books as usual.
Computers and other information sources such as televisions and radios are preferred simply because they are multipurpose and simple to use and they provide more relevant and sufficient information than books. Also, using other sources of information such as computers saves both time and money that could be used for purchasing new books for each specific purpose. Is it not wonderful to see people learning through watching television, listening to the radio, reading magazine, newspapers and other materials, taking notes from these materials and sessions and using them for their learning purposes instead of buying and using books? In a real sense, books lack some essential information which can be available from internet use and other information sources, thus the latter are preferred and will be the preferred alternatives in the future compared to books.
Educational attainment has increased, is increasing, and there is no doubt that it will continue to increase in many parts of the world. The literates have increased, are increasing and will continue to increase in a more wide and broad range. This will increase people’s access to the information available from the internet and their exposure to other sources of information, regardless of their complexity, rather than relying only on books, Thus they will buy books only for specific purposes and rely more on other sources of materials.
In conclusion, I think that in the future people will not cease to own books, because books are more accessible, affordable, simple to use and even long lasting than technological facilities, although the advancement of science and technology is continuing to reduce the significance of books to a large extent. Thus, books are and will continue to be more reliable than other learning and information sources.