Sunday, January 15, 2006

Citius, Altius, Fortius


No I am not talking of the Olympic tagline, but this massive race to incorprate technology in every aspect of our waking time. Before you start hurling stones at me for being a post-dated cheque from the Luddite troposphere, stop and listen. I am not a Techno-Dino; this site testifies to that. But I do protest the onward pace of modernization spoiling the last vestige of my cherished experiences.

'The technology is not there yet,' says Charkin, 'but in 10 years, who knows?' In this vision, publishers retain the copyright and, having digitised their back catalogues, also derive income from the trade. The on-demand book will lack the aesthetic appeal of a conventional hardback, but in the knowledge economy of the 21st century, this may not be significant.

How can they say that? It will be significant, over-the-top signi-hell-ficant. What good is a hand-held reader without the charm of the “written” word? Can you smell the knowledge bouncing off in strict pedantic aroma off the glass screens of a digitized device? How can you form a special personal bond with a monitor screen? I cannot, I’m afraid. I need a book to have pages that turn yellow with time, that you can annotate with notes and comments (blue ink) and which, when you look at it 10 years down the line, reminds you of the place and time and sentiment that had offered you company when the author had first spoken to you.

So people of the world, unite, stand up for your rights, and ask govts. and Microsoft and Google (Heck! All the big names) to let us retain the charisma of a good-old hardbound “book”. No ‘e’s attached.

Pic Courtesy: Alaskan Speedskating Club

How Reading Will Change

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