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Tuesday, 28 May 2013

The Book is Dead, Long Live the Book


Books made from actual paper - a thing of the past?



Over on the ABC news site there's an article entitled - "Australian publishers say the book is not dead, it is being redefined by new technology." So, E-books and E-reading devices are really gaining a significant foothold in the book market. This is totally unsurprising, if a little dispiriting. I'm certainly not a fan of E-readers, as you can read here, but I accept that it is inevitable that they will become the dominant paradigm in publishing. However like vinyl records have survived, I believe that books will also. 

Bookstores will need to adapt, become more specialized and offer quality over quantity. Book chains, as we have already seen, will become a thing of the past and small boutique stores will become the norm. There will be plenty of people who will still want to browse for books in the physical sense as well as read a book made from paper. I know that I will. So what do you think?


11 comments:

  1. My father in law died a little while ago and as I'm the biggest reader in the family, I was considered the appropriate recipient for his kindle. I would probably never have purchased one, but now that I have one, I love it. It has 1000 books on it! It's like carrying a library with me. I'm still buying "real" books as well, and I think i will always love book shops and libraries, but I'm definitely keen on the convenience factor of the ebook.

    There are some things that bug me, like not having page numbers and not being able to flick through it easily, but I suspect that as technology improves, things like that will become less frustrating . I do feel sad that hard copy books seem likely to disappear, and that bookshops and libraries may become less popular as a result, but I'm also definitely going to be a kindle owner for good now.

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    1. Hi Gemma. I can totally understand - it is pretty cool to carry device that has a thousand books on it, but where's the romance?! I'm sure that you'll still get hard copy cook books though?

      Back to work today - should be interesting to see how the voting went for the book club...

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    2. Yes, hope you had a good trip! I saw the email for the book winners yesterday. I didn't vote for any of those three I don't think! I'm sure they'll be good though.

      There's no question the kindle lacks romance. On the other hand, I have been trying to declutter my life in a few different ways and I can also see some magic in not feeling compelled to cart around 3 and 4 books at a time as I usually do (and still am, to be honest). I have still been buying hard copy books but I suspect that I will gradually lose the inclination to do that. Much like CDs and the ipod - I was very reluctant to give up buying CDs after buying my first ipod, as I loved having something tangible, loved the artwork etc etc. But after a while I got over it and now I couldn't tell you the last time I bought a real CD.

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    3. Had a great time thanks! I didn't vote for those books either. Two of them are a bit different in that they are lighter reads than what we normally do in the book club, which is good for a change.

      Ah how technology shapes our lives... :)

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  2. I vote for books made from paper - to me they are more convenient than a device that I may drop or break. I love bonding with a really good book - gazing at the cover, opening it to that new book smell, dog earing the pages, carrying it around with me wherever I go. It's like a love affair every time. The experience of hard copy book reading will endure...

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    1. It's like I wrote this! (I didn't, if anyone suspects)

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    2. I like all of those things too, and perhaps it is telling that I still carry hard copy books everywhere I go as well as the kindle. But I don't think the kindle would actually break if you dropped it - it's a surprisingly sturdy little gadget.

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  3. I recently got thrills from the purchase of a first edition of Colin Wilson's Ritual In The Dark (1960). I think we can imbue books with meaning like icons, and if they are old it's easier. My brother noticed how beautiful the patina, and then wanted to know about the story. Do you think some of this sentiment is to do with the texture of paper, which by now in our evolution is a firmly planted as means of recording events/ carrying memes? It seems ancient and instinctive to make marks on it. I feel different paper and react like a wine taster, it might make for a different drawing or painting as a result. I love that you said the word romance, a book carries the ideas within, but ages and gets injured and gains something,though I'm not sure what that answers!

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    1. I haven't heard of that book - will have to look it up. I think that because paper is organic it ages with us and seems all the more precious because of it. Like the wine taster metaphor!

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  4. There is no doubt that Kindles are useful, especially for travelling. But for everyday life, I believe I will always prefer paper. They fill a home with life and are always present to remind you of the thoughts inside.

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  5. That's a great way of explaining part of their value - I agree.

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