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Will physical books be gone in five years?

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Physical books gone in 5 years?
  • The physical book's days are numbered, author Nicholas Negroponte says
  • "The physical medium cannot be distributed to enough people," he says
  • Negroponte founded One Laptop per Child in 2005

Washington (CNN) -- As e-book readers and tablet computers become more common, one prominent tech mogul says that physical books could disappear sooner than expected.

In an interview with CNN's Howard Kurtz on "Reliable Sources," author Nicholas Negroponte, founder of One Laptop per Child, said the physical book's days are numbered.

"It will be in five years," said Negroponte. "The physical medium cannot be distributed to enough people. When you go to Africa, half a million people want books ... you can't send the physical thing."

Negroponte emphasized the efficiency of being able to put hundreds of books on the laptops his organization sends to villages. "We put 100 books on a laptop, but we also send 100 laptops. That village now has 10,000 books," he said.

CNN iReport: Have you replaced books with an e-reader? Share your story.

When it comes to making e-books standard, Negroponte thinks that developing countries may actually be faster than developed countries.

"That's what cell phones did," Negroponte said. "Cell phones were more popular in Cambodia and Uganda because they didn't have phones. We had phones in this country, and we were very late to the table. They're going to adopt e-books much faster than we do."

Negroponte founded One Laptop per Child in 2005 with the goal of providing one internet-connected laptop to every school-age child in the world. Through the help of industry insiders, the organization created the XO, a lightweight and durable laptop.

For $199, it's possible for individuals to buy a laptop for a child in the developing world through the website


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