The following is in response to an overlong and densely written online homage to real books with flippable pages as opposed to e-readers. The author seemed impervious to the irony that his homage was being accessed via an Internet based article: http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/c...ok.single.html
I'm not disagreeing with the fellow -- in so much as I grasp his main point -- though truth to tell I may have failed to properly grasp whatever point he was striving to make -- it was definitely a dense conglomeration of unnecessary wordage. Still it struck a cord of sorts within me and the following is my reply:
As different types of artist and educator my entire home is a library. This is both a professional necessity and personal choice and yet I have absolutely no trouble with the thought of future generations replacing all these tomes and reference texts and novels, children's texts and math texts with unobtrusive electronic storage, accessed via a screen system or two. Humans need to adapt to change. Especially as we age.
Besides which if humans living in the most humble of circumstances can still have immediate access to entire libraries of entertainment, information, poetry, prose, and facts then they are free regardless of other circumstances. Some aspects of the Star Trek utopia dream are accessible and should be pursued with vigor for the good of humanity in general, and if that means that only eccentrics will one day know the 'joys' of turning the pages of a book then so be it -- assuming that it also means that everyone else will have free access to entire libraries of information and data and so forth in the palm of their hand. It's nice to see humanity mucking about with the beginnings of that dream during my lifetime even though I will not live long enough to see it come to fruition.
As a youngster my pre-internet frustration came from the fact that what libraries were available to a pedestrian, or to someone restricted to the range of a bicycle, were limited in resources and too far apart. Book store chains and used book stores were fine, but without enough money and a way to get to them, they might as well have been on the moon. But today, with what is freely available with mere internet access? It is now possible for nearly anyone to gain a useful knowledge base in nearly any subject area. One's dedication to the concept of intellectual self-improvement is now the limiting factor -- in general terms, that is.
But people are adaptable and for all the sensual input from handling a traditional book, still the words on the pages and not the pages themselves, are the important things. The words found on screen are going to be the same words. Any resulting epiphanies are going to be just as profound . . . and perhaps easier to come by since one will no longer have to jump through hoops to get access to them in the first place. I can live with that.
All this said, though; still I would mourn were real books to vanish from the human experience . . . but then again I'm just a sentimental old softy.