So, how do you read a “real” paper book? I know, we can all do that, but will we still know how to in, say 50 years time? We have all seen those videos of small children trying to swipe to the next page in their kiddies books, as they have been brought up on iPads and similar devices and found those videos to be charming and funny in a nice and fuzzy way. But in fact they are showing us the future of reading. Like it or loathe it, ebooks are where we are heading, and patently paper books are slowly but steadily being superseded by their digital descendents.
And it is possible that in the not too distant future, paper books will only be read by academics in pursuit of their knowledge of these primitive predigital eras. Depressing thought isn’t it?
In spite of the fact that I own a blog that is devoted to all aspects of ebooks, I am also a passionate lover of the paper variety as well, and have thousands of them which I read and reread with enormous pleasure. Loving the feel, the smell and the weight of a real book – And those rows of book spines on my bookshelves, all of which promise me so much pleasure and escape to new and different worlds. Whilst I am very fond of my Sony, Kindle and so on, and truly appreciate their convenience, a couple of lonely looking, albeit sleek and smooth ereaders on a book shelf, each containing an enormous number of ebooks are in no way to be equated with the pleasure of the real thing obviously. A total lack of the sense of adventure that a decently filled book shelf offers us.
Paper books sitting there on the shelf offer us in a highly visible manner an escape from the daily grind, romance, friendship, relaxation and all the many benefits of reading, and they do this in a tangible and individual manner. ereaders obviously offer the same experiences, but they are discrete, nothing to be seen, no visible promise of pleasures, actually really very sterile objects.
So, I am to be honest, very ambivalent about the rise of the ereader and its attendant ebooks.
Anyhow, I came across this funny video the other day, which assumes that we have already reached the stage of not knowing how to work with real paper books, and sets out to explain how it is done. It is gently funny, the actors are attractive, and the whole thing is friendly and soft.. But actually I found it remarkably sad as well, given the underlying idea in it.
Hilary Commer the maker of this gentle video has done a superb job of gently pointing out where reading is heading.
So, sit back and be instructed in the ancient and noble art of reading paper books.