Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Goodbye to the Book

I am a avid reader. I love mysteries, horror, thriller, suspense, fiction, and even some historical fiction. I really could read almost anything, well I'm not much of a fan of the romance though, and even though I do read a fair amount of books, I do wonder if they are on the outs. With so much of what we read and do online and on the computer, the printed word is fast becoming obsolete. I see this not only with books, but newspapers, magazines, and even writing jobs. In their place are online news sites, plenty of websites and blogs dedicated to the same topics of magazines, ebooks, and many writers are dropping the pen and typing away to be virally posted. The reduction of paper is something to also think about in regards to more ethical consumption, as just with any other item that is made from natural resources the less we use the more trees (or whatever resource) we save.

I've already written about how much junk mail and paper waste gets circulated through the mail, and while a lot of what used to be sent out is being done instead online there are still those die hard letter writers and advertisers that make it into our mail boxes. Although being that the postal service is struggling as it is, this antiquated form of communication may only be a memory a few years from now. In almost every aspect of our lives technology is moving us forward, and why would you sit down to write a letter when you can have a more instant gratification from a cell phone, email, or instant message? This can have its good and bad, because while we may be cutting back on the amount of paper waste sent we are usually met with other wastes that seem to crop up. Yet it's possible to recycle your old cell phone, so I guess as long as we continue to be environmentally aware we can limit any new negatives.

But in coming back to the books, while some may say that it is a shame that our libraries and book stores aren't being filled as much with the beauty of the written language, I think that these thoughts, expressions, and words are making their way out there. In fact, probably more so as now with the internet being accessible to almost anyone the amount of people able to voice their opinions is expanded upon exponentially. And as they do so, typing their blogs, creating their websites, and publishing their ebooks, they aren't killing off trees to print their paper on. The word is a powerful thing and can be of great influence, and thankfully so as the word is currently spreading the need for more ethical consumption habits. Yet with books and other print declining one resource is being saved.

I by no means am happy to see books becoming outdated as I do recognize there is something special about physically holding your reading material, but the facts are pointing that they are. Google for one example has started its own campaign in trying to help promote reading by offering millions of titles to be downloaded and read to keep people interested in the more classic novels previously bound. So as long as we are still working to keep literacy a part of our lives, I think the trees and rain forests aren't shedding any tears as they say good bye to the bound book.

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