“I took my time, running my fingers along the spines of books, stopping to pull a title from the shelf and inspect it. A sense of well-being flowed through me as I circled the ground floor. It was better than meditation or a new pair of shoes- or even chocolate. My life was a disaster, but there were still books. Lots and lots of books. A refuge. A solace. Each one offering the possibility of a new beginning.”
I’ll be sad indeed if real printed books vanish. Right now, they are holding on remarkably well given the initial phenomenal growth of e-books, but I have a feeling we are going to have a new range of e-books and tablets within the next couple of years which will be:
- Be easier to read under differing lighting conditions
- Have improved audio
- Will offer features we haven’t even thought of just yet
In short, I don’t think the e-book evolution has plateaued permanently. I think this is more akin to a consolidation period prior to a series of further onslaughts.
Amazon, as they say, never sleeps. Well, nor does Apple or technology as a whole.
What worries me about real books vanishing is the thought that real book-stores will vanish as well. In that situation, how will you book-browse? I have tried browsing on the internet, but it truly is not the same experience. It’s not tactile. There is no book smell.
Walking apart, book-browsing is one of the best ways I know of coming up with a fresh idea, clearing your mind, or otherwise stimulating your brain.
I don’t necessarily buy what I find—or I would quickly run out of floor space (I speak from experience) not to mention money—but I treasure being able to dip into the distilled output of brain after brain, and to be constantly surprised. Also browsing has a tendency to surface fascinating facts—the kind that fill in the space between two thoughts you have had already (and, with luck, will either confirm or connect them)..
The other day, I ran across a new account of the 1967 Israeli war—which was militarily extraordinarily successful—but arguably gave rise to the political logjam which is such a feature of that part of the world today.
In the book, there was an account of Orde Wingate, the British Army officer, who had such a formative effect on the Israeli Defense Forces. As it happens, a great uncle of mine took over his Burma unit, the Chindits, after Wingate himself was killed—and I was at school with his son. But primarily I have long been drawn to Wingate because he had such an original military mind. He just thought, and fought, differently
The account told me a great deal I knew already—including the fact that he ate onions like apples—but also confirmed a thought that I have been working on for years.
What is it? Wait for my book.