Apologies for the long absense. Holidays, travel, challenges in many forms…thankfully all good challenges. Onward and upward in 2011…that is my motto! I shall try to be more expedient and timely with my posts. Honestly…
When I was very young, just coming into my news and information addiction, we had few avenues open to us: newspapers, libraries, and the good old set of World Craft Encyclopedias sitting proudly in their wooden bookcase in the living room. Back in the day, most people had encyclopedias displayed in a place of prominence. It declared: “we are an interested and academic family”.
In those days before cable news and the internet, this was how we did research for our papers and reports. You had the choice of pulling down the encyclopedia, or visiting the library for the proper reference materials. Other than conducting interviews if you knew someone who fit the subject matter at hand, those were the options. My, how times have changed.
Clearly I am what you would call “old school”. I have not embraced the “e-reader” and frankly it is unlikely I ever will. Yes, it would save space in a home overrun by a veritable plethora of books, but where is the fun in that? There is no pursuit as fascinating as visiting a friend’s home and perusing their bookshelves. Nothing is more representative of an individual’s personality as the books displayed in their home.
The best use I can think of for the e-reader is strictly for travel. Being one who has lugged more books than clothing on vacation, I can see where this would be the way to go. Regardless, I prefer to hold the book, turn the pages. I say this with no apology.
The world of publishing speaks often of what the future will hold. Publishers are nervous and rightfully so. Will books become obsolete? The mere thought gives me dyspepsia. The same is true of newspapers, many have failed and folded. There is nothing sadder. I have personally mourned the loss of many. Each lost paper is akin to losing a dear friend.
As this matter is of great import to me, I have taken a (non-scientific) poll and am finding that many academics, readers, and writers prefer hard copies of books and newspapers. Honestly most of these folks are middle aged and older, but the younger guys and gals also numbered highly in the poll. Surprising? Perhaps. One has to wonder as time passes and we “old schoolers” dwindle in number, will the statistics change? The younger generations grew up with technology, they are more familiar and frankly better adapted to it, and hence it stands to reason they will embrace it in higher numbers. Time will tell.
We who are committed to the acquisition, dispersal and sheer enjoyment of information are the true arbiters of the printed word. We need it as some need food and oxygen. (I have personally been accused of “eating” books). Even the average person needs their news. Basically it boils down to this: People will always want information. What changes is the method one uses to get it.
Speaking only for myself, I can assure you that there will be books as long as I am alive. It is good thing too, for if they should cease to exist before my demise, I would not care to endure. The sound of a turning page is a comfort. The smell of a freshly printed book is unparalleled. The heft, the cover art, they all have their place in my heart.
In the immortal words of Thomas Jefferson: “I cannot live without books.”