Sunday, January 30, 2011

To Download or Not to Download


I've heard a good deal of discussion lately about E books. Many people I know are quite concerned about the recent revelation that downloaded books are outselling the traditional variety. It's no wonder, they are certainly less expensive. Even paperbacks are moving towards $20. these days. Most downloads go for half that price. But that's hardly the issue. It's really about the real thing as opposed to an electronic version.
Lately, all the electronic versions are looking more like paper books; some even have a simulated turning page. (That's hysterical, isn't it?) But many people I know are completely unwilling to give up their books. Some are quite worried about all this. I think it's a moot point. What will be, will be. And, believe me, it is going to definitely be. So much so that many college "bookstores" will no longer sell books. That's right, it's happening right now. Students either download or rent books. Lots more room for sweat shirts, bumper stickers, and all sorts of rah rah paraphernalia.
I wonder if other generations dealt with the oncoming technology in a similar fashion? We could no more stop the development of the computer, the automobile, or the camera that we will or want to stop what's happening to our literature. To my friends I say relax. Keep your books, buy your books, hold you books, sleep with your books, worship your books. I do. You should be able to live your live comfortably assured that the "book" as you know it will always be with you. Do I think that something huge is going to be lost when all the world downloads. Absolutely. But neither you nor I can do anything about that. We can only go with what works for us and sit back and enjoy the sweep of evolution. It is, however, fascinating to think about a time centuries in the future when humanoids will discover books. I'm sure there will be stashes discovered just like ancient tombs. Pages and pictures will be fondled. The tactile wonder of it all!
I wonder what those books will be worth?

Oh by the way...I found my original copy of Hesse's Siddhartha the other day. One of my student teachers will be using it in a class he's teaching very soon so I thought I'd give it a re-read. I was prepared to buy a use copy for 6 or 7 bucks if necessary, but, as I suspected, I kept the one I used in college. I'm the original owner. I noted that the price I paid for this "new" copy was $1.25.

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