A book isn’t just an object, it’s a way of life

By Katie Crabb | gargoyle@flagler.edu

For someone like me, there’s nothing better than the feel of a brand new book in my hands, untouched, unread, just waiting for me to dive into its pages. There are stories, adventures and journeys hidden inside those pages, and the physical feel of the paper beneath my fingers only adds to the excitement. Everyone loves a good story, so for this reason I think books will continue to survive despite the rising popularity of other media, like film and television.

These two media are highly entertaining, of course, but how many hit movies were first based off a book? But the way in which books are presented may change sooner than we think.

Amazon created the electronic reading device called Kindle where users can download books at their pleasure and read them on the device. Really, it’s like reading books on a computer screen.

According to Paul, Jeff Bezos, the CEO and chairman of Amazon, said, “It’s not written anywhere that books shall be forever printed on dead trees.”

That sounds a little insulting to the way that people have read books since they were first created.

This new creation is all well and good, but does it not strip readers of the traditional pleasure of reading a book? Whatever happened to taking one along for a lazy day at the beach, curling up with one by the fire on a cold winter night, or crawling under the covers before bed and reading for a while?

Must everything be electronic and digital?

Is it that much simpler to read words on a screen instead of holding a book?

Kindle it seems, is catching on. The downloads for the device now amount to about 10 percent of all Amazon’s sales. Impressive yes, but it has not yet trumped traditional book sales. And nor should it, unless America stops reading altogether, and going electronic is the only way to keep people reading.

But reading is not quite dead yet. According to the Literacy Company, 56 percent of young people admit to reading more than 10 books a year, and they didn’t need an electronic reader to do it.

Traditional books, I think, will survive despite this attempt to digitize. A number of jobs, after all, depend on their production. Will we simply shut down libraries in favor of products like Kindle?

Instead of asking their parents for a public library card, children would ask them to spend $300 on an electronic reader so they could read their favorite books.

Kindle could be considered the “savior” of the literary world, but let’s not call in a savior before one is needed.

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