Journal of an ageing early adopter
I’m an admitted early adopter. Whenever there’s a new trend in entertainment, tea steeping, coffee brewing, gaming or any other field that I have the slightest interest in, I’m there, at the pre-release event. I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember - ready to shell out hard-earned money for the latest, shiniest toy. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to admit that I’ve been disappointed often enough by so-called “new” and “great” trendsetting products in the past. In fact, I’m proud to say that I’ve finally honed my (healthy) critical thinking skills when faced with each new Revolutionary Consumer Technology of the Week.
That isn’t to say that I’ve betrayed my old ways entirely. I’m not suggesting that trend-lovers have it all wrong or that early adopters are people who love novelty for novelty’s sake, far from it! Hey, there’s a reason why trends are trending! I’m simply more and more inclined to question the rate at which early adopters jump on what’s new, what’s improved, Version 3.0, so eager to conclude that the tried-and-true has kicked the bucket – R.I.P., tried and true! Case in point, the current trend reversal happening in the book industry (I know, right?!).
An article published in May 2016 by The Guardian1 stated that sales of physical books were on the rise for the first time in the past four years, while sales of e-books registered their first drop in the seven years since the Publishers Association has started monitoring them in the U.K. What’s more, the exact same phenomenon is happening right next door in the U.S. From 2009 to 2014, the sales of physical books in the U.S. had consistently dropped. The big surprise, reported by Market Watch2on August 22nd, 2016, was that sales of physical books had made a comeback from the brink of extinction to get reacquainted with growing sales!
All that time, I had thought that books - physical, printed, actual books - were dead. Like other early adopters, I stopped paying attention to libraries and jumped right onto the E-reading trend. While my attraction to the “latest” and “shiniest” version of the book was strong, let’s be honest, despite all of its advantages, my Kindle just can’t live up to what a physical book has to offer. Moreover, I had been overly forgiving of its flaws for too long – after all, it was going to revolutionize my reading habits!
I am now happy to say I’ve jumped off the e-reading bandwagon and gone back to the tried-and-true, old-school physical book. If I am to believe the aforementioned reports, it looks like I may not be the only early adopter who can be seen going back to the book store, sifting through a pile of ‘real’ books and maybe even buying one or two. I guess all I’m saying is if you’ve got your sights on an exciting new trend, remember to keep cool. Just because it’s shiny and new doesn’t always mean it’s better.