Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Brought to Book

The other day I read somewhere that the day of the E-Book had come and that very soon we would be ditching all those fuddy-duddy paper things.
Mind you, I've been reading this sort of stuff on a pretty regular basis for the past few years. The ancient Assyrians probably used to hear the same sort of rumours about papyrus taking over from clay tablets but, in that case, there was a difference. Papyrus is a lot more convenient to handle than bricks.
But as I see it, lugging around an electronic gizmo has only one thing going for it. You can store a lot of information far more conveniently than in even the Concise edition of the Oxford Dictionary to say nothing of the Encyclopaedia Britannia.
So for a peripatetic writer such as myself, I can see a use. But not for the pleasure of reading.
And just when you're getting to the juicy part of War and Peace, the batteries run out. Or the system crashes and you get to listen to the Microsoft jingle.
Just try turning the corner of a page down to mark your place (I trust you only do this with paperbacks ) and you're in for some expensive repairs I would think.
This thinking that technology is the solution to all problems will be the downfall of mankind. One claim is that you can store umpteen books on the gadget at any one time. Now I don't know about you but I rarely read more than a couple of books at a time, so the others will just be loitering about, taking up gigabytes or whatever those things are called and gossiping among themselves.
And if you think that it is easier to get the time of a train by calling Mumbai than it would have been to open a copy of Bradshaw, well, I've got news for you.
My catalogue from the Folio Society arrived this week which is what prompted all this.
And the incomparable pleasure that I get from opening a beautifully printed and bound volume will never, ever be matched by a sort of literary iPod.
And, the computer industry being what it is, you can bet that your E-Book reader will be overtaken by newer and even better E-book reader technology which will not be backwardly compatible with yours.
Remember the videos that NASA took of the moon landings? They had to go to the museums to find the equipment to play them.
Printed books have been around for nearly a thousand years. Let's see just how long the E-Book lasts.


Post a Comment

<< Home