Look e-readers and tablets are great. I have one and I love reading on it, but there are still books I buy in physical format. I still go the library and check out print books. Why? Because they are cool! Print is here to stay, people like it. The smell, the feel, the look. All those covers and the way books on shelves make you look smarter than you really are. The pile by the couch and the one on your nightstand. Books will get you laid, yes even Dragonlance if you enjoy a challenge.
Books are freaking books they are the ultimate form of the written word. We started out on cave walls and moved onto stone tablets, then papyrus. Huge freaking tomes that were all handwritten by monks who never had sex because they had to spend all their time writing. Then we got the printing presses and yes, the books were still big and only rich people had them. Then movable type came along and books started getting smaller and more accessible. Already by that point, more than just rich and privileged were learning how to read.
This isn’t unlike home video that leapt from its own stone tablet like reels of the movie theatres and into VHS cassettes. Which was sort of similar the smaller and more portable books. Then of course there were DVD’s followed by Blu-Ray. They weren’t really any more portable, just better than the first version. Like getting better print, better bindings, moveable freaking type. Plus, all that happened in under fifty years. Humans as a whole didn’t have time to get thoroughly attached to them. Books have been around a lot longer. They are entrenched in our blood.
Now both books and film are both on digital format. Which is great because I can go on a three hour flight and have one hundred and thirty books and seventy movies with me in one spot. I don’t have to make the decisions like the rich people did before their journey to the new world and limit my luggage to only one hundred books. Isn’t technology grand? No decisions, no regrets, YOLO!
Rollerblades didn’t kill bicycles. Calzones didn’t kill pizza. CSI: Miami didn’t kill CSI. However good taste and the war on drugs killed disco. And a cataclysm infected meteor killed the dinosaur. Look, the best you doomsayers are going to get – if you get anything at all – is a situation like the shooting of J.R. Ewing, print books being J.R. and epubs being the shooting sister-in-law. Where killing the best thing about your world turns out to be a terrible idea and sets off some boring and bizarre events. Ultimately, it will turn out to be just a horrible dream. All will be corrected in about eight months, book time.
When you woke up, you were older and more sentient. You knew everything, particularly what you liked. Elf boobs and bastard swords! You had started reading Choose Your Own Adventures and Goosebumps. Started hanging out with the twins, maybe the Majeres, could have been Sweet Valley High. Damnit if both sets of twins didn’t have a lot of books. All of which looked great on your shelves. The Majeres were all about big muscles and bad attitudes. Regardless if you were the suavest wearer of braces and Z. Cavaricci’s on the planet, the minute the ladies saw those books, you were stonewalled. Something your parents knew all along. Which is why they kept buying you all those Dragonlance books. They were nothing if not the last line of defence in protecting your perpetual virginity.
You moved out. Maybe you went to college, maybe your parents were crushing your rock n’roll dreams, maybe you just moved out. Either way, there was probably a box of books you took with you. A box that taught you to lift the legs and not with the back. In that new place, your first place away from your parents, nothing felt right. There was too much empty space. Then you unloaded the box onto your shelf and you felt better. Heck, you were home.
You had roommates who also brought their heavy boxes of books. The weird kid who brought Pratchett, the gothyish kid who brought all the Ann Rice, the english major who brought a lot of shit you had never heard of. You all started trading and swapping. Learning about other works and worlds you had never heard of.
Maybe you met the one and started to cohabitate. You started getting more money and a burning desire to live with less roommates. Either way, you got more books. Now you had more than one box, but you had it under control because you knew to lift with your legs. “Fahkenbok!” You breathlessly grunt through clenched teeth as you try desperately to not have your spine unravel as you carry the final and heaviest box up the stairs.
Years pass. You had to downsize or had so many books you were running out of space. Reading is a hard thing to give up, so you get an e-reader. Maybe you held onto your books, at least some of them. You could still always pick up the rare print book. The one that completes your collection. There is always the library, which is like the best bookstore on earth. It’s like shop lifting, but with a return policy. Besides, how many of those damn Dragonlance books do you really need to own? Are you quoting from them? Referencing them in relation to dealing with issues in your own life? Unless you have a sword, the ability to cast fireball, or know a real life hill dwarf, you may have issues practically applying such problem solving methods.