Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Print books going the way of the dinosaurs
I'm starting to accept the idea that print books will become a thing of the past the way parchments or illuminated tombs are now relics. My son is currently in an MFA program for Creative Writing and he despairs that this might be true. He loves books - the feel, the smell, the act of turning a brittle page. But he, too, is beginning to realize that there is a dwindling willingness to pay for such items (not to mention wait for delivery or trudge to a physical store) when they can appear on one's e-reader with no wait and at a greatly reduced cost. I have not read a printed book in years! And even my son has gotten a Kindle and carries his library of thousands of literary works with him wherever he goes. He joked, though that some habits are ingrained and he sometimes reaches toward the upper right corner of his Kindle, prepared to quickly "turn the page" of a particulary engaging chapter. He is retraining himself to leave his thumb on the "next page" button. On an iPad, the act of "page turning" is a little more like a book, so that's a comfort. Regardless, I plan to be on the front end of what I believe will be the growing trend toward electronic books. Admittedly, it's easier for me to get past the desire for a printed copy fo my novel to hold because I've already been in print - as my yet-to-be-published son points out to me frequently. But in the long run, I believe we will learn to rejoice in our publications even when no paper version exists.