A Bookish Posting

To Kindle or not to Kindle? That is the very big question.

I presently fall into the latter category. No e-reader for me. I wonder if I am still in a thinning minority here.

I love books and I am concerned about the possibility that books as we know them could go away. Books, with all their glorious paper and strong spine, pages that you feel and turn, their beautiful covers. These books could someday be replaced altogether by digital versions of their old selves.

That’s a scary thought to me.

I originally started writing about this subject in April but held off until I had more time to think. You see, I stumbled upon this article about a book publisher who says that paper is not the way. He decided to go completely digital and depend solely on apps for iPad and the like for those who want to read.

In fact, he now wants his newly signed authors to bring him an interactive app before or in place of the finished product of the book.

I warn you, if you want to read this, it’s pretty long. http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/42382278/?Gt1=43001 

He says people want an interactive reading experience, where they can read an e-book and be able to click-through it to go more in-depth on something that might interest them. So, instead of reading from cover to cover as you would with a paper-based book, he says people would rather click away on links throughout the e-book and dive deeper into the peripheral subject matter related to the story.

I told some of my friends about this and one friend tried to dissuade me and said any reasonable person would read the e-book all the way though first and then go back and click-through it. Perhaps. Maybe one who had a longer attention span than I do.

My head would spin with information overload. And they say Sponge Bob causes ADHD.

As it is for me right now, a Google or Wikipedia search turns into a lost hour and once it’s over and I’ve clicked 1000 times, I’ve forgotten what it was I was looking for in the first place.

The article goes further saying that kids — including early readers and preschoolers — will be relying on their parents’, or likely their own iPad or tablet for reading and interactive apps.

So I have to wonder. Where would this fall in the ongoing battle of how much screen time to let our children have?

The article also speaks to how digital books allow room for comments/alternative viewpoints within the text and that such a book would reach more people. Same goes with an interactive cookbook. People can insert their opinions into someone else’s recipe.

Hmm. I am not sure how I feel about that. Fair and balanced? Maybe. But I am not sure I want to hear about Little Red Riding Hood’s opinion on that one Little Pig’s straw house. And Sleeping Beauty may think Red’s a bit dense not recognizing the Big Bad Wolf dressed up as Grandma. And so on.

As far as the cookbook thing, I am all for recipe sharing websites. I love them! However, if I published a cookbook, one that I researched and used my own recipes in, I am not sure I would want little hyperlinks and comments stuck in here and there, even by Bobby Flay or Giada DeLaurentiss, stating that “This recipe would be a lot better if you did this.”

I watch The Next Iron Chef for that.

UGH. Sorry. I am off on a ripper here. I realize that I may sound a bit hypocritical too because as it is right now, you — and hopefully A LOT of people — are reading my words on-line.

Blogs aside, this whole doing away with paper books is a little too much for me.

But I can clearly see the writing on the wall. Pun intended. I went to Borders and took advantage of a sad but true liquidation sale for the bankrupt book seller recently. It was in the same shopping plaza that closed a Strawberries Music and Video store a few years ago. Both the victims of online monopolies that are edging out all competition.

The world is getting smaller. I am not ready. Not sure if I will ever be. A friend once said something along the lines of “If you can’t adapt, you die.” And yes, I am sure that has a lot of truth to it, but it’s still hard for me to get my hands around when it comes to a book.

I can’t imagine that maybe by time my son gets to high school (or sooner) a local library would be nothing but a shell of its former self. How would that fare for librarians? Would there even BE a library left? Would all text books would be replaced by tablets, pages with megabytes and book marks with stylus pens? What happens when there is a bug in the system? Do we exchange “the dog ate my homework” for “Sorry, I couldn’t complete my dissertation Professor because a mega virus ate my e-books?”

I can’t imagine a world without tangible books. Perhaps I am getting ahead of it and our completely digital world will not truly be the death of the paper book.

I hope we always have the choice –read the old way or Kindle.

Not e-read or bust.


10 thoughts on “A Bookish Posting

  1. Unfortunately I think books are on the way out. Not in our lifetime or our generation. But children are being brought up with more electronic options and except for when they are very young these don’t include books.
    I’m in my mid 60’s. I can remember when the ball point pen came out. Before, we had ink wells. My graduation gift from high school was a typewriter. Now there is technology. My guess is you used wordprocessing software to “write” your blog. In fact, I don’t think it would be possible to access wordpress without software. Books will fade away for the same reason. They will not interact with some needed technology. Sad
    Here is a link to my blog http://bit.ly/odQZDJ

  2. I’m with you, Maria. I love the way a hard-bound book sounds, feels, and smells the first time you open it. I love being able to toss my paperbacks into a bag to go to the beach, and not worry about getting sand in it. Or suntan lotion accidentally smeared on a page. I love going to my favorite used book store to peruse the shelves and find new authors I might not otherwise read, for pennies on the dollar. I love curling up on a cold night with a good, solid page-turner. Don’t get me wrong, I love technology. Laptops are great. I wish I had an iPad, but I don’t know if I could ever trade in a book for a Kindle. And I can’t imagine a world where books cease to exist.

  3. I hope books never go away, they are so faithful on stormy evenings when the power is out and the batteries are drained. There is such a satisfied feeling when turning the pages of a real thriller. I will always have some books around! Great post.

  4. This gave me a really good idea for a post over on my blog, i’ll post it shortly. I was never into paper books, ok, i’ll admit it, I was never into reading per say. I own a tablet, with an e-Reader app on it, and guess what, I don’t ready e-books either. Wow, I’m totally not helping am I?

    I’ll go with this: Do what feels right, until its not there anymore. IE – stick with books until what’s interesting to you is no longer available, then get an e-Reader.

  5. Pingback: To Paper or Not To Paper? « I geek, therefore I am

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