By Terry Wright
Here’s something you don’t see very often. I found this phonebooth on Highway 6 at the Nevada – California state line in the middle of nowhere USA. Who uses one of these contraptions anymore? Its mere existence struck me so hard I had to take a picture. And looking at it today, I realize that technology is as much a catalyst for change in our lives as a comet was to the dinosaurs. The impact has all but wiped out our memories of how things used to be.
The automobile replaced the horse and buggy. The telephone replaced the telegraph. The cell phone replaced land lines, and here it comes: the e-book is replacing the printed book. Will it be total annihilation, as it was with the telegraph and the dinosaurs? I, for one, believe not.
I recall when movies came out on DVD. Everyone said that “going to the movies” would be a thing of the past. But movie-going is an event, an activity, an outing that hasn’t lost its luster to DVDs. We still love the excitement of opening night, the aroma of popcorn in the air, the pulse of the crowd, and the rush to get a good seat. DVDs can entertain us some of the time, but popping one into a player can never replace the ‘experience’ of going to the movies.
I’m hearing the same thing about printed books; that they and the bookstores that sell them will also become distant memories. E-books are already outselling printed books. The future is chiseled in rock. But like going to the movies, holding that special tome, feeling its weight, thumbing through its pages, reading it while curled up in an overstuffed chair is an event to be experienced. Our e-readers can entertain us some of the time, yes, but not all of the time.
That’s why I believe printed books will not become as hard to find as a phone booth or a dinosaur.