I've just read a very interesting article pleading the case of e-books. More than pleading, rejoicing over the advances in technology that many fear will lead to the "end of books as we know them". You know, the Kindle, the iPad etc...
I've been kind of divided on the subject since the Kindle hit the stores and the topic has become more and more frequent lately.
On the one hand I really love books. I wish I could live in a place where I could set up a library/reading room all cosy and comfy just for my books. I wish I could afford to buy more sturdy and gorgeous hardbacks that will stand the test of time. I love the feel of the book in my hand when I read. I love taking it to the beach, to the pool, relaxing in the tub. All things you can't enjoy (or not as much) with the new electronic formats.
But on the other hand... think of all those trees. All that paper that is just destined to... what? Be passed on to subsequent generations? We're not talking about books like those published 200 years ago that are still around today. Quality has gone down. Several of my paperbacks bought in the early '90s are looking mighty scary. Not to mention the fact that there's no guarantee your kids will share your tastes (I know I had absolutely no interest in many of my dad's books as a kid). And then there's the matter of books you just pick up out of curiousity. A best seller you've been wondering what everyone's so excited about. A thriller you pick up at the airport or train station to help pass a more pleasant trip. Books that aren't really that great (and sometimes downright crap). Books which, once read, will end up being tossed out, "donated" just so you can get rid of them because they're not worth the space they take up on your bookshelf. It's all those books I would feel perfectly comfortable just reading on a screen.
The author of the post I mentioned above definitely subscribes to that point of view, but he goes farther still, extolling the possible virtues of the new medium and foreseeing a revolution of sorts in the way we interact with our reading material:
As the publishing industry wobbles and Kindle sales jump, book romanticists cry themselves to sleep. But really, what are we shedding tears over?
We’re losing the throwaway paperback.
The airport paperback.
The beachside paperback.
We’re losing the dregs of the publishing world: disposable books. The book printed without consideration of form or sustainability or longevity. The book produced to be consumed once and then tossed. The book you bin when you’re moving and you need to clean out the closet.
For the rest of the article (and trust me it's well worth the read), just click here.
What's your take on these new formats? These new reading options that seem to be launching our libraries into the 21st century?
PS: if I was on the fence with Kindle, the iPad has practically got me converted! ;o)
Now, if only I could afford one... :p