Thoughts From a Train: What Will Become of Books and Newspapers?

nerdfighters rules Hello Fellow BookNerds!

Greetings fellow fans of the literary world!

I would like to apologize for my absence for the past couple of days; I found myself to be neck deep in boxes and piles upon piles of other paraphernalia. You don’ really realize just how much stuff you have until you try and pack it away. I don’t care what people say; I think it’s possible to have too much stuff ^_^

Anyway, to make up for the brief lull in my blogging schedule, I thought I would spend a little time talking about an issue which continues to be brought up again and again, and which I’m sure each and every one of you has wondered about at least once…

At this moment, as you are reading this, you are on you computer, your tablet or some other electronic device with an internet connection. From the moment you turned it on, I bet it took you less than five minutes to log onto the internet, open up a search engine and stumble upon this blog. Five minutes. There are times where I still find it difficult to accept the ease with which people can find what they’re looking for, and they don’t even have to leave the comfort of their couch to do it. Heck, people can build an entire career and earn a fairly handsome salary without having to set foot outside their homes, or interact with customers or clients face to face! Almost everything can be accomplished online, and that includes reading.

I can still remember the day when I got my first library card. It stands out rather vividly in my mind, mostly due to the embarrassment I felt after realizing that I wrote my name wrong – I would like to state for the record that I was quite young at the time, and still relatively new to the world of writing – but it also made me feel grown up. That card was my responsibility, belonging only to me, and giving me the power to borrow as many books as I pleased. The excitement and joy of kn0wing that I could visit the library any time I wanted and fill my mind with the thousands of stories contained within the thousands of books they had to offer … It was a day I shall never forget. Another day I will never forget is the day I set my eyes on an e-reader for the first time.

It looked so strange, like something out of a science fiction novel. Yes, how ironic it would have been if said person had actually been reading a science fiction novel at the time, but alas that was not the case. All irony aside though, I just couldn’t come to grips with this revelation right away; I mean, how could people possibly enjoy having this cold, rectangular mass of circuits sitting in their hands when the world is already filled with these tastefully bound and artfully decorated books that people poured their souls into? Keep in mind that this was the old me who was, shall we say, not overly fond of the direction to which humanity was headed in a technological sense? It took me years before I got my first cell phone, and that was only out of necessity.

The new me, however, has adopted a view which neither contradicts nor coincides with the whole “skynet will take over our computers and enslave the human race” mindset. I won’t deny that the advancements we have made and continue to make in the field of robotics sends shocks of anxiety through my nervous system when I dwell on it for too long, but that does not cloud my eyes to all of the benefits that have come from this. However, I also don’t have blinders on when considering how much technology is and has been taking away, which is where we arrive at the big question on everyone’s minds: is there room in a digital world for old relics like paper bound books and glossy page newspapers?

After I saw that person with their e-reader, pressing a button to turn to the next page of what I am sure was an amazing book, I swore to myself that I would never succumb to the temptations to purchase one myself. Today, I still don’t own one, but that promise I made back then was to a person who was still unwilling to accept that the world was changing, along with everything in it. I will never give up my bookshelf, and I will continue to get up early every morning to pick up the newspaper from the end of the driveway, but I will not deny myself  the potential pleasure that comes from something that people put a lot of hard work into making. Technological innovations, after all, stem from the idea of a single person, ideas which would not be made possible without the human’s unique ability to imagine how things could be. This same kind of imagination is what gave birth to memorable characters like Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes.

It is quite possible that the books and newspapers we have become so used to seeing over time may fall into disuse, but I can’t see them disappearing altogether. Many relics of our past have been seen to pop up time and time again, and in some cases they are just as popular today as they were back then. It can’t be helped; we are a race of beings prone to feelings of nostalgia and sentimentality, and no matter how much we try to distance ourselves from the past, we can’t help but take a few souvenirs from those times with us.

This is my predication: so long as there are people, there will be books to be read and newspapers to be perused. Now if alien races come and take over the planet, then my prediction may be proven false, but this prediction is not based upon the insight gleaned from fiction; these are the thoughts of your average university student who has seen her fair share of fads live and die, and then continue to live again. As Bob Dylan would say, things they are a changin’ , but change does not have to mean an entire overhaul of everything we do.

This is the opinion of only one BookNerd, though. I would love to hear what the rest of you think. Leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments, and until next time, happy reading!



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