It is with great sadness that I reflect upon Amazon’s announcement that they are now selling more eBooks than books you can pick up, touch, feel, flick through and leave on top of the pile by the bed in the hope that you will one day get around to reading them.
I am as guilty as anyone in abandoning the printed form for kindle running on my iPad but I don’t feel good about it. For some reason this is the one casualty of the internet age that I am not happy about. I don’t care about newspapers – I now get them online and through Twitter, Flipboard et al and don’t ever find myself thinking that this is yesterday’s news and out of date.
Books are the one thing I don’t want to let go of. I like the problem of having to go out and buy a new bookcase because we have run out of shelf space on the existing ones. I like looking along the rows and seeing the different colours and sizes and wide range of authors and topics that display an active mind and wide literary interest. I even like knowing that I have a specific book somewhere but not being able to find it because I can’t remember exactly which shelf it is on in which room.
But because of the internet I rarely read anymore. Even the books I have on Kindle are out of copyright classics, free to download but stored electronically and not read. I just have them because I can and the one book that I have recently read electronically is Kipling’s Jungle Book and I also have a paper copy of this one (a timeless classic – read it if you haven’t yet – you don’t have to be a child to enjoy it).
The internet/world wide web/whatever you want to call it is a fantastic and exciting entity that provides me with a living.
It isn’t all good though and at this point I’d like us all to observe a few moments of silence to reflect on what we are giving up when rushing headlong into a world that steals our time and blurs the seasons into one confused timezone…