Thursday, August 12, 2010
10:16 AM | Posted by Ellen Anne Eddy | | Edit Post
Are books dead?
My first impulse is to grab every child I see on the street, bake a big batch of cookies, sit them on my porch and read to them. Reading is the window to the world. Can you tell I came out to teach primary? Well, yes.
It's actually deeper than that. My mother taught school and was president of the library board. Both she and my father read to me nightly. Of course she read me The Little Gray Squirrel. My father read me whatever he was reading. It ranged from the Jungle Book, to Argosy Magazine to Gods Graves and Scholars. I was around three at the time. I can't say I understood it all, but it cemented my love for books. I can't imagine a world without them. I can't go to sleep without one either. The smell of ink, the touch of paper, glossy and full of color and impact, still is electric for me. The stories are often my only company for days.
Technology often scares me. I went through a phase where I refused to learn how to use my voice mail. It was childish, but I felt overwhelmed. My ten year old neighbor is teaching me how to text. I'm not a quick study.
So when you tell me books are dead, my panic starts to rise like sap up a tree. I have images of all of us rushing into book stores and saving the books!
But books are not just paper and binding. Really what a book consists of is a story told, an event explained, a technique discovered, a life explored. Books are information! Information is always holy and always needs to be preserved.
Having written several books, in the current age, I can tell you that they are completely set up digitally now. When I finish a book and it goes to the printer, it goes simply as a PDF file, electronically sent and received. The printed form is simply one of many ways it can be distributed.
Technology changes. As daunting as I find technology, I no longer rush to my herbal books when the dogs are hurt. I go on the internet. The search for information is eternal. The formats will change in time and space. I have an image of monks rushing a printing press saying that it couldn't possibly produce the kind of books they had over the years. They would have been right. The printing press a huge open door they could have never reached with a pen in their hands.
Lately I've discovered Audible.com. You can download books to an mp3 player and listen. I'm in love. It's as if my father is back reading to me. My player holds around 20 books at a time. And my mp3 player fits in my bra. How many books can you carry in yours?
Wrapping it up:
The technology changes, but the need for information is eternal. Books will go on and speak for ever.They may just not be made of paper any more. And since digital storage isn't anything like a library full of books, they may well be much more available for longer periods of time and in ways we can't imagine.
You'll find MP3 books at Audible.com
You'll find more of my books at Amazon or on my web page at