Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Fate of Paper Books

As you can probably tell from some of the information on this blog I am not exactly a Millenial. I grew up when telephones still had rotary dials and music was on vinyl. Books, all books, were printed on paper. I had (and still have) thousands of these relics.

Someone famously asked how will kids find new music artists, share with their parents or friends when there are no boxes of albums to thumb through, to explore kinesthetically, visually and then, finally, aurally? The same can be said of books. I still scan through the bookshelves when I go to parties or visit a friend. I love flipping through books at yard sales and charity sales.

The yard sales and charity sales, I see, as a vanishing event for written material. However, the physical book does not seem to be disappearing, just changing. Children's books are actually still strong, a hopeful sign for a literate future generation who can stay focused on one thing for more than a few seconds.

And I worry less now about the flipping through old albums scenario. You can do the same thing by flipping through the titles on my Kindle or my cloud library. Even if I'd rather hold the paper and smell the ink, the core of the book is still there in the electrons flitting about. The ideas, the adventure, the imagination, the knowledge is all still there. The form shows new options, without completely losing the old ones.

Each has its place as we move forward.

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