ROME (Reuters) - Newer technologies like electronic readers will never fully usurp demand for traditional books that offer the joy of leafing through pages on a beach, Italian publisher Mondadori's CEO said on Tuesday.
Sales of electronic readers such as Amazon.com Inc's Kindle and Sony's Reader have been surging, while consumers can increasingly opt for alternatives like reading novels on their mobile phones instead of reaching for a printed book.
"I don't think there will ever be a complete substitution, there will be some integration of the two models," CEO Maurizio Costa told a briefing for foreign journalists.
"To be sure, there will be some shift away, but the joy of flipping through the pages of a book, the joy of printed paper -- those will still remain."
Traditional books will always be preferred while reading in the bedroom or on the beach, he said.
Books also remain a cheap purchase amid the economic downturn, especially as a gift option, Costa said. Mondadori's book sales -- which accounted for about 21 percent of its revenues last year -- did very well over Christmas, he said.
"Even a bottle of bubbly costs twice as much as a book," he said.
Reporting by Deepa Babington; Editing by David Cowell