Today I'm welcoming Author Scott Nicholson and joining in on The Haunted Computer Blog Tour. Thanks Scott and welcome to the blog.
Tina’s blog theme is “Savvy thoughts about books.”
And that set me thinking: “What is a book?
These days, I just don’t know.
For some, a book will forever be that pressed-pulp object that most of us grew up with. And I am sure that is the savvy move for those people. Realistically, it is the only format that will last the rest of our lifetimes.
A few years ago, the local mayor came into our newspaper office to discuss a time capsule that was going to be buried at a civic event. The idea was that the capsule would be dug up in 50 years and the contents shared with that future audience. She wanted to know which format would be the best for storage, the one people of the future would surely be able to read.
I shrugged. There was only one real choice.“Paper.”
At that time, you could still put stuff on a floppy computer disk and have it read by most computers. That’s not so true now. Likewise, CDs, mini-DVDs, audiocassettes, vinyl records, eight-track players, wax cylinders, 16-mm films, and other formats all require somewhat specialized devices for playing. Zip drives are ubiquitous but in 10 years will our devices even have slots where they will fit?
Additionally, magnetic and electronically stored data can decay unless you keep moving the data around to newer and better storage devices. The e-book you buy today may have to be replaced in five years, assuming you plan on re-reading it at some point. (Maybe that’s not a good strategy for getting you to buy my e-books, but I am sure you—SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE!!!—want to read them all immediately).
The book as physical object is a pretty complete invention. Good ones last hundreds of years. But they all turn to dust eventually, no matter what. You can buy some L. Ron Hubbard books etched on titanium plates for tens of thousands of dollars, books built to withstand a nuclear holocaust, but who will be around to read them?
So I say let the book be the story or ideas that can be shared, and let’s worry less about the format or the object or the storage medium or the distribution flow. It’s certainly not worth fighting over “Paper vs. Plastic.”
I look at my own reading habits and the place I “read” the most books is in my car, on audiocassette. Since I read and edit so many manuscripts, I rarely read paper books anymore. I use the Kindle for Desktop PC and plan to buy a Kindle before Christmas, but again, I am writing so much, and reading so much online content already, I can’t see cramming another 200 books onto my virtual TBR pile this year.
When I bought my house six years ago, I moved in with 10 boxes of bound books. I gave away three of them as contest prizes. I opened one box and spread the contents around on my closet shelf. The other six have never been opened. I am comforted by their presence in the attic, but for necessity, they are worthless. I read the ones that appealed to me and there are others I will never read. A few I will probably re-read, but in other formats.
So I don’t know if I have any savvy thoughts about books, because a book is whatever you want it to be. The term “book” is just a generic label for the means of conveying thought from one person to another.
All I know is I have the many treasures of memories, emotions, journeys, information, knowledge, and adventures that came to me through the words of others. Some are forgotten but still stored inside me at a cellular level of collective unconsciousness.
Books are just our current way of sharing experience, and figuring out why we are here, what it all means, and who we are. Maybe our race will develop ESP and books will go out of fashion, or perhaps one day everything will be stored on the Internet or future collective storage medium. But we’ll still need the words. And we’ll need each other.
I don’t care about format. Just keep sharing.............
Scott Nicholson is author of Speed Dating with the Dead, The Skull Ring, and 10 other novels, five story collections, four comics series, and six screenplays. A journalist and freelance editor in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, he often uses local legends in his work. This tour is sponsored by Amazon, Kindle Nation Daily, and Dellaster Design.
To be eligible for the Kindle DX, simply post a comment below with contact info. Feel free to debate and discuss the topic, but you will only be entered once per blog. Visit all the blogs on the tour and increase your odds. I’m also giving away a Kindle 3 through the tour newsletter and a Pandora’s Box of free ebooks to a follower of “hauntedcomputer” on Twitter. And, hey, buy my books and put me in the Top 100 and I’ll throw in another random Kindle 3 giveaway. Thanks for playing. Complete details at http://www.hauntedcomputer.com/blogtour.htm
Thanks Scott and Goodluck to all the entrants..................