Can’t we all just get along?

Here’s something else I’m over: the print vs. electronic debate. Are e-books going to kill print media? In the future, will we all be iPad or Kindle toting readers?

In this Washington Post article, Gabrielle Miller says that we must absolutely have both. I absolutely agree – and here’s why:

My son, at 15 months, has become a book-devouring machine. Everyday, he brings me book upon book to read to him. He loves to crawl in my lap, listen to the story, and help turn the pages. Every night, he helps his father pick out a book to read before bed. His favorite book, by far, is Tails by Matthew Van Fleet. On every page, there are animal tails to feel or parts of the book to move. And his father’s animated voices and noises only increase the books interest to my son. He loves the tactile nature and the motion of the book.

But – he also loves the iPad. I recently downloaded several apps for him (no books yet, however) and he loves it. He puts his finger on a certain animal, the picture zooms in and the animal’s sound is played. He also had a baby piano app where he can play Baa Baa Black Sheep. Like his favorite books, these are interactive. He gets to be a part of it. I realize that these aren’t books, but more and more books are becoming not only able to be read on an iPad or some other electronic form, but they are also becoming interactive. For instance – using the Internet to expand beyond print. See Interactive books (‘E’ not included) from the NY Times. But the iPad will never take over my son’s love of books, touch and feel or otherwise.

Beyond the realm of children’s books, however, I see a time and a place for e-books and a time and a place for print. I can’t see how it would ever be cozy to snuggle up with a Kindle in bed, but on a trans-Atlantic flight, a Kindle would be wonderful.

But these arguments are not new. And I am not even spinning them in a new way. But what I am trying to say is: why can’t print and electronic books coexist? Why do I keep seeing articles and chapters in books about the possibility of print being rendered outdated or gone from our lives entirely? Yes, librarians and libraries need to stay current and relevant (this is something I have recently become passionate about), but I don’t think our users will ever stop asking for print materials entirely. And let us never forget how people (myself included) love the smell and feel of books. Refer to Stephen Abram’s post, Are books smelly?

What do you think? Can you envision a print-free world in the future?


About halffulllibrarian

Librarian. Mother. Runner. Reader. Not much of a blogger, but I try. Natural, unmedicated birth supporter. Hits head on everything. Loves the Cold War Kids.
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