Grizzled old tomes sprawl about with brash new books and shy petite volumes. Travel-eager paperbacks perch next to grease splattered cookbooks. Smooth, coarse textured or newsprint simple, each book a unique physicality and presence. My hands leaf through the dedication, caress the foreword, and explore deckled pages.This print love affair grows richer with the passage of time.
A new challenger, a single apparatus, no larger than an open hand, holds an entire library and electronically empowers reading at all places in all time. Convenient. Lightweight. Manageable. Omnipresent.
No longer the authorities on books, publishers gnash typeset teeth against author direct publication, eReader driven sales, and independent downloads.
Still, the demise of the printed book? Replaced with a world backlit in shades of grey?
Ah, the same debate foretelling the end of movie theaters before the onslaught of DVD home entertainment. Before the shouts proclaiming radio drowned under the visual images of television.
“Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated,” Mark Twain says and removes a stogie from his mouth. He nods and smiles. I return the gesture.
Relax. Breathe. Print isn’t dead.