Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Book is Not Dead

Amidst all the media hoop-la for the Sony Reader and how it is the death knell for paperbacks, and probably all books, everyone seems to be missing one major point. Of course everyone has drawn attention to the fact that it costs £199. There's no question that yet again publishing has not had its ipod moment - I doubt that it will for the forseeable future.

Perhaps the biggest thing against these electronic book readers is the fact that they are exclusive. If we want children to read more then we need to give them access to more books and this certainly isn't the way. How many kids will be bought one of these readers? Certainly none to many in East Glasgow, Craigmillar or other less well of areas across Britain. The book is not dead it is just under attack from fashionsitas and techno-junkies who think that because it's new then it must be good. We should be concentrating more effort into making libraries a cool place to visit, holding more events in them and generally working with books as one of the fundemental pillers of a civilised society.


Dragonstar said...

"They" said the cassette tape would be the end of vinyl. Then they said the CD would be the end of tape, as would the DVD end the videotape. All these things still co-exist.

The book will never die.

Lord James Bigglesworth said...

I just think it is the feel of the paper in the hand, the leisureliness, the library and real things which attract as well.

Tamara Jansen said...

What a ridiculous thought, books are dead! It's so much more relaxing to read off of a page than a screen, don't you think?!

Richard Havers said...

Reading off an electronic gizmo in the bath could be high risk!

jmb said...

Of course the book is not dead nor will it die while there are people like us who like to hold them and flip the pages back and forth to check something noted earlier. But I think these things might have a place. For example I wouldn't mind taking one loaded with tons of books on vacation. So space saving, but of course none of the books you actually want to read are available in the format.
Interesting that you should contrast it with the iPod, which I had not thought of before. I am a big fan of the iPod and I am about to purchase my third generation of same. But their strength is that you can pick and choose what you want to hear and load it up with this and that while one does not do that in reading a book, except maybe a book of poetry.

CherryPie said...

I would never swap a real book for an electronic gadget!

I love and am surrounded by books. For me there is now comparison between the two!

Anonymous said...

I'm a retailer and I've always understood that the more senses you can appeal to, the more likely you are to make a sale.

For instance - when you sell leather goods, your product should appeal to the senses of sight, touch and smell (and sometimes hearing.) They all conspire together to create a feeling of luxury that sells the product.

A book isn't just about appealing to the sense of sight.

How much pleasure do we get from just holding a book, hearing the crisp turn of a page, or smelling the faint odour of antiquity from a second-hand book we've just discovered?

In the town I live in, there is a bookseller who gives you your chosen book, wrapped in brown paper with string. In Winter, they have an open fire in the shop and all are welcome.

Could you ever find such a retail experience on-line?

The book is not dead, not so long as those who properly retail books are allowed to treat them with the reverence they deserve....and we choose to buy from them rather than from Amazon and their like.

Richard Havers said...

LL, couldn't agree more! I've often blogged about the whole business of publishing and how they generally do an average, at best,job of selling their wares. They are to close to their 'product' to often understand what it is that makes people tick when it comes to book buying.

I wish we had a bookshop like that nearby...on second thoughts better not I;d never get any work done. But seriously I do miss a decent book shop. I've heard there's a new one opened in Kelso so we're off tomorrow to check it out (and to buy medium oatmeal by the 5kg sack). I will report in...