Books Don’t Break

      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.

lion around 2

24 Comments

  1. Thank you for saying it so eloquently. My late husband self published two books, and his insisted that they be available in print. I completely support that, libraries were my refuge when I was a girl.

      1. Yes, let’s hope that’s the case. The megavendors are impossible to negotiate with, so we sold books through local bookstores, coffee shops, etc. There’s more than one way to sell a book at a reasonable price!

  2. I think it was Stephen Fry who said in regard to the books vs e-readers debate, that just because someone invented escalators it didn’t make stairs redundant.

  3. I love the feel of a book in my hands. The smell, the texture of the pages. I even love the dog-eared pages and crinkled spines. It shows my favourites. I love my iPad because i can take a lot more options around with me. But I always buy a book if I loved the electronic version.

  4. The fact I know about and remember for the most part being older, my grandparents/parents’ collections of 33 1/3 and 45’s, compared to today when I talk to kids and older still, who don’t bother to find out and generally don’t want to know about such things, and don’t know what a 45 was a shock but can understand due to the aforementioned in your article. I watched them struggle with what we thought were all our Christmases rolled into one – holding between forefinger and a thumb like a rancid old sock – the Walkman and other ‘devices’. I hope that never happens to the book….in a few hundred more years maybe, who knows – unless they are born into an apocalyptic woodland shelter, I think even tomorrow’s kids would know about them…you would hope anyway.

    1. Its about as basic a thing as we have yet also one of the most basic. It can never be outmoded, so i too hope that if the planet is around in 200 years we will have books still, even if only few of them.

  5. I certainly hope books will always survive. Many magazines and newspapers are on the brink of collapse. I hope books can continue through this and other revolution that may come.

    I still receive great pleasure going to a book store and leafing through books and deciding which ones I will purchase.

    1. Sort of. Things like tapes and vinyl have actually made a comeback over the last decade or so, particularly vinyl.
      And I think film based cameras are popular again too.
      But so many things fade in the tech world, so quickly too.

      1. Yes, I see the vinyl discs appearing in the stores. Enthusiasts tell me that the sound quality is superior to CD sound.
        And I hope you’re right about the cameras as I have an old Pentax and a Minolta I’ve been wondering what to do with!

  6. Aww, my sentiments alike. I LOVE Books!!
    It reminded me of Fahrenheit 451 – and the world without books.
    Loved it!
    ❤ Dajena

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