Printed books survived the Kindle onslaught


I can clearly remember how I started the lecture that morning. Standing in front of the class, I kept quiet for a few seconds to draw attention. Then I dramatically raised my right hand, in which I was holding the beautiful black gadget.
“You must never forget this moment,” I told my students. “I have something in my hand that is going to start a revolution.” You could hear a pin drop.
“What you see here is not only the future of books and reading.” They were awestruck. “This is the future of all knowledge and information.” And then I showed them my new Kindle e-reader, which had arrived from Amazon the previous day.
Oh, how wrong can one be. I should have read the Book of Proverbs that morning. “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.” I never foresaw that books, in the age-old printed and even hardcover format started by Gutenberg way back in 1455, would ever survive the onslaught of the digital era. But they did. And they do.
All over the world books are making a comeback. And yours truly, once the disciple of the digital device, buys stacks of new printed titles every single week. My Kindle? Haven’t touched it in years.
Have you heard of the Japanese word “tsundoku”? The Huffington Post recently wrote an article about this term. It describes people who buy more books than they can read. They have some bad words for us. Book-hoarders. Bibliomaniacs. They even talk about “persons suffering from stockpiling syndrome”.
Do these accusations bother me? Not at all. I’m with the author Umberto Eco. A private library is not an ego-boosting appendage, but an indispensable research tool, he stated. Books that you have read are far less valuable than unread ones.
Your collection should contain as much of what you do not know as your financial means allow you to put there. Finish and klaar!
There is also that indefinable aura hanging over those dusty bookshelves. The ever-present promise of unlimited possibilities. – Albé Grobbelaar