Thursday, February 3, 2011

Out with the Old, In with the Artificial

You can look at reading as autonomous or you can look at reading the way I do: a collection you build over time and use to connect you to other, both mentally and literally. It seems with the invention of e-books and Kindles, the look of the traditional library is changing forever.

A part of me understands the hype and I understand the benefits. The immediacy, the privacy, the longevity. I get the convenience factor and the cool, new technology feel.  And I actually believe it's a great tool for students' textbooks -finally, an inexpensive way to organize and lighten the load of school books for kids. 

I even came across this video that shows some fantastic features that can help make reading cool again - and its attempt to move away from autonomy by allowing a borrowing feature:

But what about the forgotten value of growing a library for yourself. The look, feel, and even smell of a book you make your own by breaking it in like a new hat or pair of sneakers. It's the books you buy that give them value; they don't become a post in a myriad of other books and even applications (I know it sounds silly but I wouldn't want some of my most valuable books next to my Scrabble or Monopoly app -which seems to be the most popular buys). I doubt I will ever get a Kindle because of this fact.

A book is to me like a hat or coat - a very uncomfortable thing until the newness has been worn off.  ~Charles B. Fairbanks

Fairbanks has a point and buying a Kindle for the purposes of leisurely reading to me is comparable to buying an already broken-in hat. It's simply artificial  -Just as I buy an artist's CD if I really respect them as an artist, I've decided that I will do the same with books out of respect to the author.

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