The Once and Future Book

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With the relatively recent decline of print media, there has arisen the opinion that the book, as we experience it today, will soon die. While this might seem like a reasonable assumption, there are several reasons why this will never be.

First, the reading public is too smart to let the printed book die. This statement might seem counterintuitive based on the intelligence required t enter the digital media world in the first place, but let me explain. There are many different ways in which people manifest intelligent behavior. In fact, most people exhibit their ability to experience life through spatial experience. This spatial understanding is best felt through the holding, touching, and turning pages offered through reading a solid, tangible book. While digital methodology might offer a simulated book reading experience that satisfies the tangible benefits, it will never fulfill them. People are physically attached to books.

Another major reason the book will persist is its collectability. Sure, you can download digital books to your digital reader all day long and build up a collection to rival the Library of Congress. But, you can never take any of those books off the shelf and show them to someone. You can’t flip their pages and feel the binding. There is an inherent value in the bound, solid book that cannot be reproduced in any other format.

We can all identify with the last reason stated here: books are legacies and heirlooms of humanity. Look at your library sometime. Even if you’re not an avid reader, you no doubt have at least two or three books in your house that were given to you by someone you love. Your mother might have passed onto you a children’s book she read to you when you were young. Maybe a friend bought you a book for your birthday. There are any number of reasons those books are special to you. They are treasures of the mind and objects of the heart.

Enjoy your books. And don’t worry; they’ll always be there.

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