Books seem to be a very hot topic of conversation at the moment in the blogosphere and round the dinner table, the main issue seems to be books versus kindle or other forms of E books, personally I am definitely in the book camp however I do see the benefits of kindles and E books. Let's face it carrying around one smallish piece of technology, with downloadable access to thousands of titles is preferable to lugging round heavy books, E Books are also beneficial to the environment cutting down on paper and distribution, I recently saw a news report regarding Africa, where for the first time children in remote villages, are now able to access text books and titles, previously unavailable to them, thanks to the internet, E Books and kindles, thus radically improving their education and ensuring a brighter future for themselves and their communities.
Despite all this I still cannot bring myself to even think about purchasing a Kindle, I love books, not just the words contained between the pages but the books themselves, new books, old books, ancient books, paperbacks, hardbacks and coffee table books, I love the way they smell, I love reading the covers and leafing through the pages, I lovingly slot them onto shelves or place them on tables, desks and sideboards, I even have a small library in the loo! After reading, they will often be revisited, consulted for reference and shared with family and friends.
And what about the high-street bookshops and library's? apparently bookshops both independents and chains are struggling to compete with the might of Amazon and their ilk and library memberships are in decline, library's across the globe are closing. Living in deepest France, with no immediate access to English books, I rely on Amazon for my book hit, and despite,'wish lists, access to reviews, people who purchased this title also bought that title, you may also like this, personal profiling and recommendations', there is still nothing to equal browsing round a really good bookshop or library.
Are we really the last generation, who will clamour after tangible books? Will future generations regard paper books as antiquated dust gatherers? Watching news coverage of children who queued overnight outside bookshops to get their hands on the latest Harry Potter book, I would like to think not, I saw the delight on their faces, when they got their hands on those books, would a downloadable E book create the same excitement?
And what about the authors themselves? Will self publishing and E Books cut out the need for publishers and herald the demise of the professional writer? I hope not.
Progress cannot be stopped, the digital age is here to stay and even though there are many practical benefits for the Kindle and E books, I hope books as we know them, will be around for centuries to come, I would like to think that the world has room for both.
I dedicate this post to my friend Kathy who sent me a link this morning, which triggered this post. It's a fascinating article and a little scary, if you have a few moments follow the link and read it, I would love to hear your thoughts: click here