Let’s read

‘Tejas Fest’ authors vote for ink, paper as future of literature
This weekend is Rockdale’s fourth annual Tejas Fest and Reporter contributor Christine Granados asked the many authors who plan on attending some interesting questions for an article you can read in this week’s special section.

What do they see as the future of reading? Have devices such as Amazon’s Kindle signalled the beginning of the end for the printed page?

It’s gratifying to see the authors are unanimous in their opinion that books — the real kind — will be with us always.

There are actually technical reasons why “flesh and blood” books might still have some advantages over the latest high tech devices.

Books won’t display blank pages unless they’re periodically charged. A book can’t suffer a fatal injury if you step on it. Notice that it’s Kindle which touts its product’s display as “looking just like real ink and paper,” not a book seller promoting the latest volume as “looking just like real pixels.”

But the real reason why the future of real books looks secure, as the authors point out, is that many of us have an emotional connection with the printed volume that will be hard to equal with plastic and computer chips.

Think of the smell of a brand-new volume, the crackle of pages, the technicolor dust jacket artwork and the sheer heft of an 800-pager you know is about to give you hours of pleasure. Remember the Austin telephone-directory size of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix?

As the authors point out, to many of us, reading is a total act of pleasure and relaxation. “Curling up with a good book” is no cliche, it’s done in bed before retiring, stretched out in an easy chair, even in the bathtub.

It’s Dr. McCoy, not Mr. Spock.

There’s nothing wrong with the Kindle approach and it will be integrated into the overall reading experience for those affluent enough to afford the technology.

Remember what happened to the paperless society? That’s what we were originally told computers would produce. Then it turned out everyone wanted a hard copy of everything.

But a bookless society? Not on your linotype. And on that point, the Tejas authors are all on the same page.—M.B.

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2010-03-04 digital edition

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