Friday, 13 January 2012

Save the Book!

You may well have come across this fun film as it’s popping up all over the internet at the moment:

I think it’s great, but I do regret the little dig at e-books at the end. For the record, I do not own a kindle or whatever, but am planning to get one fairly soon. This, however, does not mean that I am going to place all my books into a great pile and burn them to ashes while dancing about the flames in manic glee pausing only to worship in the sodium gleam of a dozen laptops. Nor does it mean that I will never buy a book again, spurning the printed page with the arrogant sneer of the technowhore. No, some books I will obtain for the reader, others I will continue to buy the analog (as it were) versions of.

In 1970’s film and TV science fiction, the two items that were invariably assumed to have been abandoned by those of the future were the necktie and the book. The necktie is with us still and shows no sign of leaving. I suspect the same of the printed book.

Oh it may change. I believe and hope that it will get better. Already publishers are re-discovering how to print attractive hardback novels, an art I had believed long lost and am joyful to see return, and hopefully similar trends will arise.

Part of the problem is that some people have taken to fetishising the book as icon. There are collectors out there who buy many books but would never dream of opening, let alone reading, them. It is the object not the content that becomes important. Coupled with this is the cultural shell shock caused by the mass book burnings indulged in by the Nazis though it has to be said that the crime there was the choice of books burned, not the destruction of wood pulp.

Of course I could be wrong, in which case apologies and my next post will be hand written on vellum and available to view at your nearest monastery. Enjoy.

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