Saying goodbye to the printed word

Something interesting is going on in the ways of the world and as someone who appreciates the written word I’m wondering what it’s going to mean.

With the release of the iPad and the Kindle, the idea of buying a book is becoming passe. Is this a good thing? Or is it bad?

I’ve been a voracious reader since a very young age. I’d beg my mother to take me to the library where I would carefully examine covers for gorgeous images and take as many books as were allowed. I’d carefully read over each word, examine every picture and when it was finished I would plead for more. I loved reading as a child, and that quickly grew. By Grade 4 I was reading high school level books and beyond. I may not have fully understood the exact words of what was being said, but I would lose myself in the story. I’ve found myself falling in love in a book, going on adventures of the real and not so real kind in others, I’ve been on both sides of the crime spectrum and lost myself to faraway lands and places close to home.

Needless to say – my love of reading turned into a love of writing. I wanted to write and to this day I would be doing that if it actually would earn me some money. Or rather, let me rephrase that. Because I did make some money from writing – and not bad money at that. What I would do if I won the lottery would be to buy a better laptop, a home near water with a dock and I would write my creative short stories and maybe, just maybe finish that novel that I started so many years ago.

But what would come of me? Would my work be published? And really what does published even mean if the concept of a book wouldn’t exist?

Libraries allow you to borrow books in 3 week intrevals. This makes it difficult for people like my husband who take their time and absorb a book over the series of a few months not weeks. Not everyone can powerslam books like I can. He’s the type of person that would be better suited to buying a book rather than having to pay the hefty library fines. Will he be happier in the paperless society that we seem to be entering into?

I’m not incredibly familiar with the Kindle in that I not only have never seen one, but no one I know has one. I guess I just don’t fly in that kind of circle. But with the onset of the iPad, I know more and more people that will be reading books by way of their computers. What I’m concerned with is how will that work? Will it be like a library system where you “borrow” the work to read and then it goes back into their archives, or is this going to mean that you have to pay for everything you want to read?

I do admit that it would be quite convenient to have the urge to read a book hit you and within a few short clicks you have a wonderful story to get lost in. But you’ll be stuck taking your electronic devise with you. Does this mean that when you want to go to the beach and lounge around you’ll risk getting sand in your electronics? We all know that’s a bad news moment waiting to happen.

There is something so comforting about being on the bus or in a waiting room and pulling out a paperback from your purse. You can be anywhere anytime. Will having an iPad or Kindle change the way that many of us read? Will it be strictly for those sitting at home?

I suppose if you live in a remote area it will be very convenient for you to just use your dial-up connection to get whatever your little heart desires. It’ll be incredibly profitable for the publishing houses too as they won’t have to be producing any books – they will just be promoting and making them available online. But what will that mean to the artists that wrote the books? How can they reach any acclaim? The main way that publishing houses gauge your success is by the number of times they need to send your book to print. If they aren’t printing anything, how are authors going to fully be recognized for their abilities?

I’m sure there are many of you out there that love the idea of the kindle and the iPad but I think I’m going to stick with written word.

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