A few weeks ago, in a discussion with my mother, she began talking about e-books. Of-course she believed that the traditional book was ‘dead’, and since many people of her generation listen to talk-back radio, firmly believes that therefore, it must be true. I should have known where this topic was heading; I’ve been there plenty of times before. Never have I known my mother to be positive with any decision I make, so when she said ‘if the future of the book is dead, then we won’t need authors anymore’, I was speechless. Here was a giant leap in logic. E-books are still books; they are just in an electronic format, so surely, society would need authors to write these too? They don’t just write themselves.
There has been plenty of discussion regarding e-books and the death of the traditional book. I myself was a bit slow on the uptake in embracing this new technology, but since I now own a Kindle and have read some e-books, I don’t believe traditional books have ‘died’ at all. When you think about it, have people completely stopped going to the movies because they can now watch them on DVD? People still cook on stoves after all these years of having microwaves, just like they still hang their washing out instead of always using a clothes dryer. Some of these points may seem a bit extreme, but you get my point. Not everyone will always read e-books or buy a Kindle, so bookshops and libraries will still be popular.
We are fortunate that we live during a time where books have become more popular than ever. Since the introduction of the Harry Potter series, children have become eager to read books, so too have teenagers become more willing to pick up a book due to the success of Twilight and therefore introducing them to some of the classics in literature. The future of the book depends upon younger generations’ reading habits, whether it is in electronic or traditional format, and it is up to us as writers to create stories they will learn to love.
I know of no better way of reading to a child, other than by cuddling up with a book in its traditional format; it’s just not the same with an e-book. If nothing else, that alone tells me that the future of the book is in safe hands.
Image by Debbie Johansson.