THE HUMBLE BOOK. Printed black text on paper. How archaic, how primitive and modest they are. Since popular novels have been in print the only change is in snazzier covers: apart from that three centuries of novelists have occupied shelves in the same format.
But look at the changes in entertainment. First came the phonograph, then the radio, reliant on the imagination also, then a Scottish man housebound by perpetual rain (and possibly a chronic haggis infestation) invented the TV, the single biggest shift in entertainment throughout mans history: a ground breaker, a nemesis of the book that grew more colourful and whose channels became multitudinous, sharper and more defined on which VHS and DVDs could be watched as well as providing a platform to play games.
Then in the nineties the world changed with the internet and eventually the world wide web. Competition for our free time had just gone stratospheric. Coupling the home desktop PC with TV and surely words on paper would die out? As the technological advances blasted into the 21st century, rapid cable and broadband took over meaning we could immerse ourselves in media at the click of a button. MP3s, downloadable video, instant access to YouTube and millions of videos across all genres of entertainment became the norm very quickly. Facebook and MySpace ignited the social media craze before Twitter had tweeted and before long whether at home or out, we had and have access to every conceivable source of entertainment instantly.
Digital was standing on the mountain victorious, ironically mimicking a 56k modem, its pixellated sword thrust in the air running wet. At its feet lay smashed shards of records, tapes, typewriters, cameras, wallstreet-brick-phones, box sized monitors, pagers, and all else since surpassed in a sad disarray of memorable contraptions no longer considered useful.
Pssst! Digital looked across. On a mountain next to it was Book, the spokesman of the written word. No matter what had happened over the decades, the book never changed although e-readers were added to the repertoire to stay hip, but were not an essential addition. With all the distractions, the lure of digital delights and exotic eyeball enjoyment of visual and auditory stimulation, books retained their relevance.
That, is remarkable.