by Jennifer Lee
The New York Times article speaks of the book and whether or not it is disappearing, again. This is in terms of marketability, popularity, and obsolescence. Many people, before our digital age, have commented on new inventions or methods surpassing old ones. There is always something new that will attempt to beat out an old medium. Price stated in her article that Théophile Gautier’s novel commented that “the newspaper is killing the book, as the book killed architecture” (Price, 2012).
In my opinion, when the e-readers first launched there were many people who thought that it would become more popular than a book. In a sense, that was correct, but only for a short period of time. The marketability of a book temporarily decreased because e-readers could store several books in one device, it was easier to carry around, and it was the new technology that everyone wanted. The article states that at one point Amazon was selling more e-readers than books. I believe that books are superior to e-readers because there is something relaxing about flipping through a book instead of swiping to the next page.
The idea of being able to perform physical activities while reading a book was wildly popular. Someone could listen to a book being read to them while they were cooking, running, and shopping. People could store hundreds of different books, dependent on the storage space of the device, all in one small medium. E-books are also cheaper than physical books because it is not a material item. I think these reasons contributed to the fact that e-readers were more popular than the physical book.
I find the difference in e-readers and books to be distracting because it would be more difficult to become immersed in a book if the reader is busy doing something else. It is infuriating to think that reading a book should be done along with another activity. I think that books allow readers to lose themselves in the story that they are reading, a temporary escape from reality. It creates a fictional world that the reader can adventure into. If the reader is thinking about something else like cooking or the route they are running, then they are not completely focused on what they are reading. This escape is lost when the reader is busy doing something else, the brain is distracted and therefore, not fully immersed into the author’s words. Personally I believe in solely focusing on a book which I can only do while sitting in a comfortable area. If I am distracted while reading a sentence, I need to read it again or else I am not able to remember the content.
I learned that the idea of the book becoming obsolete is a recurring thing. What I find interesting is the recurring thought that books are “dead again” (Price, 2012). The way books continuously re-popularize is very intriguing. The book has yet to disappear completely and I think it is related to the fact that books are transformed into movies. Every time a movie is released, it is either based on a book or turned into a book. If a book already exists and is made into a movie, the book is recreated with a different cover and launched. For example, “The 5th Wave” by Rick Yancey launched before the movie. Once the movie came out, the book was released a second time with a new cover that had the actress on it. In my opinion, movies are helping in re-popularizing books. I think that movies also introduce people to books that they never even knew existed, therefore providing a reason to discover new books.
The article states that with the possibility that books might be becoming obsolete, so will libraries that lend out the books. I think this idea is interesting because, in my opinion, yes, libraries may have decreased in popularity but book stores are actually increasing in popularity. There are many mainstream bookstores such as Chapters, Barnes & Noble, and Black Bond Books that still make a lot of money from selling physical books. I walked into Chapters recently and the number of people looking at actual books as opposed to e-readers are far greater. This means that people still frequent book stores. I personally prefer having physical copies of books as opposed to having digital copies stored in one device.
I believe that books are surviving and will be able to survive the digital age. This is because the threat of books becoming obsolete has always been present but never succeeded, or has yet to.
Price, Leah. Dead Again. New York Times 10 Aug 2012.