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I was having one of those days where I desperately NEEDED to walk into a bookshop and buy a book. I didn’t want to go online and order through Amazon, I didn’t want anything electronic getting in the way, I just craved holding a book in my hands like crack whore looking for her next hit. This would explain why one Saturday night found me in Waterstones Piccadilly, where I spent the better part of an hour just flipping through pages of books, getting my fix. That feeling is heady. Being in a bookshop is the single most amazing feeling ever. Ever. Nothing comes close to it. I mean where else can you hold a copy of The Notebook, possibly the sappiest love story ever written, standing before the “Romantic Fiction” table whilst listening to Spice Up Your Life? Can you say Chick Lit?
Books are life’s greatest treasures for the simple fact that the gift of a good book is immeasurable. I love physical books, I love being able to feel like I am holding the characters, sitting next to them, breathing with them, talking to them. I love the feeling of feeling the words through my fingers, its almost as if I am in the book, living on the sidelines watching the characters play out the story. No amount of technology can replicate that feeling.
With the evolution of technology tradition methods are becoming obsolete. As we adopt technology into most every crevice of our daily lives, the old ways have become redundant. Technology is both a blessing and a curse for the same reasons- its power of nowness is the death to all things traditional, all the things we grew up knowing and loving.
The Kindle…possibly the best or worst invention, depending on what side of the fence you are sitting on, has not escaped the scorn of traditionalists. But say what you will about the Kindle, its power of instant gratification is unparalleled. If someone recommends a book to me and I want to read it without having to wait for Amazon delivery, all I have to do is buy it for my Kindle on Amazon and within seconds, literally, its available for me to read. I guess this would explain why I haven’t bought a physical book in over six months… As the granddaughter of an author who couldn’t stress the importance of a good book enough, who didn’t live to see this digital revolution but would have been absolutely unimpressed by it, the fact that this in itself is a travesty has not escaped my imagination.
The digital era is no longer niche, it is a destabilisation that only grows more formidable. Publishing is the industry most affected by the digital revolution because you cannot, as an entrepreneur in the publishing industry, survive if you do not consider the digital aspect of your business and grow it accordingly to reflect the market’s taste. The case for digital is simple; we are an impatient generation; we want it NOW. Business owners have cottoned on to this fact and gone above and beyond to feed this need and satisfy the demands of nowness. The faster the better. And with digital, growth is much more rapid and easier to measure when it comes to influence.
We live our lives attached firmly to technology, at least eight out of ten people has some form of an electronic device that keeps them connected and it only makes sense that where we can have our news, books, magazines etc delivered to that device so we can read it on the go, we would almost always settle for that option. Digital is a matter of convenience whereas print can sometimes be a bother. The kindle can hold a library of almost 1,000 books carrying just two books is a burden. Also there is the versatility of digital that print lacks; the means to expand on a topic. When reading a newspaper there is no other source of verification but with an internet connection you are able to search and expand on that topic on your device.
Now, all of that being said, it should be noted that Print is not dead and even if it doesn’t feel like it at the moment, it won’t die. There has been a quiet revolution against digital of late, a campaign, if you will, for print to remain and maintain its status as the preferred outlet over digital. This movement is championed mostly from an emotional point of view. Where print is limited on content and digital offers a variety of content, the feel of news at your hands, the excitement of turning the page, the smell of a new book etc. is one that makes the argument for print over digital even more pertinent. It is wholly nostalgic but no less powerful, if not more so. Its that emotion that can never be satisfied by digital. The over saturation in digital is another issue to consider, everyone has something to add in digital and it can become a whole lot to take in but print has a streamlined and concise tradition, one digital has no hope in hell of replicating.
Where digital gives us the ability to explore wider content, print gives us that space that’s needed to contain everything and enjoy the process and that in itself is power beyond digital’s measure if only for the simple fact that nowadays, we just don’t need the distraction.