That Gutenberg Feeling

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The book is dead, long live the book!

The swan song of the traditional book has reared its ugly head again.

“Where’s your mouse? … Can you make characters fight? … Can it text? … Tweet? … Wi-Fi? … Can it do this? TOOT!”

No, a book can’t do any of that.

But where would a Kindle or an iPad be without its battery, the socket where it gets plugged in to recharge?

I want to embrace the digitization of the book, too. But I also want a choice: to read in the traditional way or not to read in the traditional way, that is the choice.

It seems to me like a self-fulfilling prophecy is in the offing. The more we chant the trad book is on its last spine and choking between the covers, the more it will come about.

Or not.

And because I like my own madness instead of the crowds, I predict the following:

Sentient books, ravaging the world, gobbling up innocent bystanders and serious bibliophiles. From library to library, from bookstore to bookstore, they stalk, eating us alive, devouring us, terminator books sent to wipe out humanity in one grand bestselling swoop. Our only chance of survival, the eBook, armored and backed by the God Google, they will march to our rescue, march like an army of deliverance.

“What worries me is that a load of shite has been talked about digitisation as being the new Gutenberg, but the fact is that Gutenberg led to books being put in shelves, and digitisation is taking books off shelves. If you start taking books off shelves then you are only going to find what you are looking for, which does not help those who do not know what they are looking for.” Jeanette Winterson

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