Have you ever heard of electronic books (e-books)? They are books in digital form and we can read them on smartphones or other electronic devices. The idea of digitizing books is not new, but recently many people can buy e-books easily. According to an article entitled 'How much do Americans read? ', in the US 33 percent of Americans own devices to read e-books, and about 23 percent of people read e-books and the number is increasing rapidly. However in Japan e-books are not so widespread now. I think Japanese people should also make and read more e-books for two reasons. First, e-books are more convenient than paper books. Second, e-books will encourage more people to read books.
Why are e-books more convenient than paper books? There are many reasons. First, e-books take up no space. You do not have to make space in the room, and you can read any e-books whenever you want. What you have to do is just bring your smartphone. Furthermore, you can use the search function and soon find the book you want to read. You do not have to look around the bookshelf even if you have a large amount of books. Last, e-books are cheaper than paper books. E-books reduce the cost of paper and transportation, so it can be more economical than paper books.
E-books have many good points as above, so it will change recent tendency in Japan. According to the researches by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, recently fewer and fewer people read books (excepting comics and magazines), and the research by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry appeared that the numbers of bookstores have been decreasing for 25 years. This is a vicious cycle. Few bookstores make few readers, and it cause few bookstores. However, in contrast, we know more and more people get digital devices and longer and longer they spend their time to use it. This must be a chance to break through the tendency. E-books will shorten the distance between people and books, and more people can be educated through them. People educated enough will make bright future. I think this is not an exaggeration.
In spite of those merits and necessity, in Japan there are still not so many e-books yet. One of the reasons is that we have not prepared the environment to access e-books enough. To use e-books it is necessary to make useful online bookstores and to develop devices or applications to read them, but in Japan most of publishers are cautious so the preparation is falling behind. They should not be afraid, or their customer will disappear in the future. It will be of no benefit. We have to look for and try new way of books.
Kyle W. (2012). How much do Americans read? Retrieved February 20, 2013 from GIZMODO Web site http://us.gizmodo.com/5971608/how-much-do-americans-read-and-how-much-of-that-is-with-ebooks
Raizoh H. (2012), making the graph of transition of the number and size of bookstores. Retrieved February 20, 2013 from garbagenews Web site http://www.garbagenews.net/archives/1985414.html
Yutaka H. (2008), The amount reading of Japan. Retrieved February 20, 2013 from The Pictorial Record of Actual Circumstance of the Society Web site http://www2.ttcn.ne.jp/honkawa/3956.html