What do we think about this?
On the one hand, I’m all, Yay! I love books. The beauty of the cover, the smell, the blah blah blah, you’ve seen this list before, except right now I want to go back and delete the blah blah part because something in me shrinks from being even passingly irreverent about the great thing that is Book.
Not for me is or will ever be an e reader, although I have dear friends and voracious readers (writers, too) who now swear by theirs.
So you’d think I’d be all over a planned, concerted effort to keep books alive.
But another part of me thinks, isn’t such a thing the last gasp of the dying? If you have to tell people to do something–worse, make them promise to do it–isn’t the battle over before it’s even begun?
Buy American didn’t work.
Prevailing upon people’s consciouses, or values, or even their ideals doesn’t work. Efficiency, economics, and convenience will usually trump.
Parents who plead with their kids to stay away from that super cool guy because he isn’t good for them turn super cool into a totally must have.
(That one may not be related. Feels like it is. But maybe not.)
In a real capitalistic world, it’s the best thing that wins out. Best can be defined in a lot of ways, according to many dimensions, economics being one.
But I don’t think it’s the only one. And I also think that books have a lot going for them that no other medium has now, and possibly never will.
Maybe we should let print media stand on its own inherent value instead of asking people to do the right thing and make a big show of doing it.
Flipping through a food column in a magazine while you eat a sandwich is not the same as scrolling through a review on your Blackberry.
Laying a book on your bed spine up and always remembering what you were doing at the exact moment you made that book open to page 201 forevermore can’t happen with digital.
But I don’t know.
You’re reading my words on a screen now, after all.