Which got me thinking; do people really think this now? Are there people - mostly young, but old too - who never read anything on paper? We get a lot of our information off a computer screen, sure, but now there's also the Amazon Kindle for portable reading of digitized books. As the Kindle gains in popularity, and seems to be more comfortable and convenient than carrying around a book, why the hell do we need paper any more?
I'll tell you why. Because a .pdf doesn't include the feeling of running your fingertips over the smooth embossed cover of a brand new hardcover book, nor the satisfying crunch of bending the spine for the very first time. The 1000th download of a digital book, wafting through the air into a device's wi-fi antenna, doesn't carry with it that musty old paper smell, nor contain the stains and hand-written scribbles of the book's mysterious previous owners. Clicking through the list of bestsellers in an online store just doesn't match the experience of navigating the narrow book-lined crevices of City Lights.
And sure, books take up a lot of room, but isn't it room well-taken? A bookshelf is like a monument to a your history, each book a deservedly heavy reminder of something you devoted many hours to. A relationship can begin and end in the time it takes to finish a good-sized book, and can't spending that much time with it affect your life just as much? And speaking of relationships, I recall a friend of mine saying she only really became interested in her long-term boyfriend after perusing his bookshelf and liking what it revealed about him. Could clicking down the list on his Kindle have had the same impact?
Oh but maybe I'm just getting old, resisting change for the overall better by holding onto the few minor benefits that would be lost. I said some of the same things about CDs, but I rarely buy them any more. Yeah but no, it'll take more time and technological breakthroughs to convince me about books. Maybe a musty smell emitter.
I leave you with these references:
[^ creepy as hell]