I Like Books
There’s an article on Gizmodo that I found peculiarly interesting. It’s called “Amazon: Paper Books Are Dead, Or Something.” It’s an informative article that explains how books are seemingly becoming more and more obsolete. This article should be of interest to just about everybody. The printing press was invented by the Holy Roman Empire around the year 1440. Since then, it has accelerated exponentially as a way in which things can be communicated. From then until now, we have accumulated huge libraries filled floor to ceiling with shelves and shelves of books. Books are the standard way in which students in schools and universities are able to learn more about what they’re being taught in class. Books provide a medium for writers to use in communicating their stories to the public. Books allow people all over the world to read the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.
Given their historical and practical significance, surely it’s a bit of a shock to read that “over the past three months, for every 100 hardcover books Amazon.com has sold, it has sold 143 Kindle books.” Essentially, if sales continue as they have been, this can mean books becoming obsolete. I think that’s pretty nuts! I don’t deny the possible inevitability of it, but the thought of it, for me, is pretty melancholy.
I’m a bit bothered at the prospect of books being discontinued, largely because I’m sentimental. I like the connection to history I feel when I read an old book. To know that the book I’m currently holding in my hands could have impacted somebody 50 years ago is a profound experience that I don’t take for granted. To be moved by a story is one thing, but to be moved by a story in the same way someone else was (in most cases, say regarding a library book, a complete stranger) is what can make reading a good book all the more enjoyable.
I like keeping physical copies of pieces of work and/or art. In the same way I like buying vinyl records, I like to buy books. It’s exciting to me to make my way through a book and to see the pages on the left become more, and the pages on the right become less as I near the end. It’s a visual sign of how far I’ve made it through the book. Once I’ve finished a book, I place it on the shelf and the book becomes its own trophy. I look at the shelved book and all I can think of is “Yeah. I read that book. I finished reading it cover to cover, and it was a GREAT book. I would absolutely recommend that book to anybody because it was a GREAT book that I enjoyed profusely.”
I should mention that I’m not completely opposed to the use of Kindles. I would totally buy one, if it were financially viable for me. I could see myself using them for school, specifically. It would be cheaper, for one, and you wouldn’t have to truck obnoxiously large books around with you. Will books really just stop being printed altogether? Maybe 20 years from now, maybe sooner? I hope it doesn’t come to that, but time will surely tell.