Worming your way into the shelves of the Internet Age
If you ask me what my passion is, I’ll have to give two, fashion and books. But if I have to choose (Jeez, I hope there wouldn’t be a need to do so), I’ll choose the latter. I am passionately in love with the written word and nothing beats the feel of paper in your fingertips as you conjure up an image based on the words that the author chose to write.
But as time changes, the medium for my beloved written word also changed. No Little Miss 2035, books did not become extinct in the year 2010. Rather, a lot of choices for readers came into existence. Here are some of the changes I’ve observed in the Book Universe.
1. The emergence of the e-books
The ‘giant leap’ in the evolution of books is the change of the medium from paper to cyberspace. Yes, we’ve come a long way from stone tablets and papyrus! Assuming, we’ve saved a lot of trees, a new problem emerges in the form of copyright infringement. I just hope, in the near future these writers come upon Wikinomics and understand the beauty of openness and sharing. I bet it will solve a lot of copyright infringement cases.
2. Cyber book clubs
Gone are the days when you are limited to scouring coffee shops and the academe in search of book clubs and fellow bookworms. Many bookworms have gone online! And what better way to interact with other bookworms all over the globe than thru the use of new social media.
3. The bookshelves have gone touchscreen.
As always, Apple has come up with another interesting feature that will make bookworms crave for an iPhone and perhaps, non-readers start thinking about reading as a hobby instead of a chore. Now, you can associate books with sleek, hi-tech, (supposedly) easy-to-use gadgets and forget that image of your high school teacher shoving a copy of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment in your face.
Caution though, iPhones are very very eye-catching to thieves who are everywhere nowadays.
4. The emergence of virtual libraries CAN make it easier for students and professors alike
Since more and more data are now available online, we can now ditch having to buy sets of thick encyclopedias every year. We don’t have to wait for more than a week for the newest information about anything under the sun. However, it will also be much harder to filter information and separate the reliable from the unreliable. After all, when you’re doing a research on the Cyanocobalamin content of Nascobal, you will have to dig deeper than Wikipedia.
5. A thousand and one reviews online
Now before you decide to give that (hard-earned) cash to the bookstore’s cashier, you can check out if the book is really worth the price. For cheapskates like me, this is a regular habit that can lead you to the most amazing books and prevent you from making another hardbound mistake.
6. Social networking sites for bookworms.
Because true bookworms don’t hide under rocks and libraries anymore, instead, the cyberworld is our new library. Let’s say goodbye to the stereotypical book aficionados who shun people and limit their universe to their own little worlds. Now, we can hang out with people who have the same passion and possibly visit more worlds than we could ever imagine!
There could be a lot of other changes out there that have escaped my observation. Feel free to share some of your discoveries dear reader!
But before I end this post, let me leave you with this fascinating screenshot of a blog post I came upon some months ago.
And they say the Internet killed print, reading and books. Na-ah! Here’s a proof how New Social Media can actually promote the written word in its glorious, traditional form.
I can’t agree more with Neil Gaiman when he said,” I don’t think of it as books vs. technology. I also don’t think of it as books vs. a diminishing attention span. What I’m interested in, honestly, is that we’ve got a generation growing up who don’t phone—they text— and that fascinates me.” Dear Mr. Gaiman, I like your philosophy. Perhaps, I can find time to read your other books. So far, I’ve only read Stardust and I’m enthralled. So much so that I read it thrice!
Everything in this planet seems to change in a rate faster than anyone could’ve imagined half a century ago. I can’t help but be reminded of that Orcom 152 wisdom our professor imparted to us last Saturday. True enough, a lot of things are changing. The internet has changed how we ‘normally’ do things, but some fundamentals never change. And that is what we should not forget. Perhaps, the lesson behind all of these changes is for us to see that these fundamentals will continue to manifest in spite of the various possibilities out there. They will only take so many new forms but the core principle will always be the same.