Richard Hawking

Richard Hawking

Born in Bahrain, Richard Hawking is a British citizen who has traveled extensively through Egypt, Kenya, Zaire, Peru, Pakistan, and Somalia, and has resided in Japan for over two decades. Richard has studied Teaching English as a Foreign Language, Graphic Design, Photography and Instructional Technology and is currently an Assistant Professor in the English Language Program at J.F. Oberlin University in Tokyo. His adventure in the Andes was documented in the 2003 film "Touching the Void". Richard contributes to the Tokyo Journal in his free time.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012 06:54


Tokyo Journal looks at the future of e-books and raises the question of whether e-books are worth the paper they are not printed on.

Famous last words: "E-books are never going to take off!"

In the mid-nineties, the owner of an online university approached the president of a major publishing company to express his excitement over technology, the Internet and the thought that e-books were the future. He urged the market-leading publisher to produce more books in their electronic format so students worldwide could gain convenient and instant access to textbooks. The owner’s delight, however, was quickly defused as the publisher responded, “E-books are never going to take off.” This was at a time when scanners were not near the speed or quality of today and authors were still submitting paper manuscripts. This led the publisher to add, “If we wanted to start converting books into e-books, we would need to start scanning every single page beginning with the Bible. Can you imagine how long that would take?”


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