Tuesday, 23 February 2010
Remember, back in the day when we read off scrolls? Boy, were they ever frustrating to carry around... but, we just couldn't give up that scroll smell. Yum, papyrus. We liked it so much we came up with toilet paper on a roll, tape, and Fruit-Roll-Ups. Good days. Good days.
Then, the blasted Codex people came along. We can make books better, they said, we'll make them more portable. You had to carry many scrolls just to have a book. Well, now you can have a book in small brick form. You can carry more than one at a time!
Sure, we thought. And how much will this cost us?
It'll be cheaper, they said, not your 15.99 copper Roman coins but only 9.99 copper coins... well, unless you buy from Roman bookseller Caesar MacMillanius, he wants to charge you 12.99.
We gave in and look where that got us... we let our guard down and now our walls are cluttered with paper books.
Then came Gutenburg and his new-fangled gadget. No! We stamped our feet. Yes, yes, he said, like that... a press, a printing press!
The use of a press was a key technological difference that provided European book publishers increased profits over their ancient Chinese counterparts. (Sound familiar?) Now, the average person can have access to books... anywhere!
To weak to fight, we gave in... again.
But, we must not give up! Our reading freedom is about to be challenged once again. Read on a computer? A device the size of a hand? What!? That's insane! My eyes, my poor eyes!
It’s just not the same as a book. There is no feel of the paper between your fingers, no sense of wear and tear on the spine of a well loved tome. You can’t dog ear the pages or make notes in the margin. You can’t lend it to a friend when you are done. You can’t lovingly pick it out of a book store and drop it in the mail because you think your nephew would really dig the scary vampires and zombies on the cover.
How are we to look intelligent and well-read if all our books can get lost behind the cushions in our sofa? Perhaps we will once again give in and our world will change again. Can we really stop progress?