Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Question About Physical Media

Are books made of paper and movies seen in theaters dead and we just don't know it yet?

What I mean, is that we may be looking up into the night sky at a star, a star that has already died, but because it's so far away, millions of light years, we just don't know it's dead yet. Forget your nostalgia for a moment and think about it. Any media can be instantly transferred across the planet, once it's in digital form. I saw fewer movies in the theater 2008 than any other year in my life since the third grade. I bought a handful of magazines, two CDs and 2 DVDs.

I think this is a good thing - although, the collective experience of cinema is very important and often adds to the experience. I think I'm going to buy a Kindle or similar device. Die paper die!


christina said...

as a designer who loves print media, i have to say i would be very sad if books made of paper and other printed materials were to die off completely. the beauty of print is something that may become a luxury, but i hope it never dies. for someone to hold something tangible and feel its texture and weight really contributes something to their experience that is just lost in digital media.

have you ever held anything thats been letterpressed? that alone is enough for me to put up a fight. i think its great that many pieces of designed information can now be put into digital format to be less wasteful and leave a smaller footprint, but we can't lose our books. we just can't. don't you love the smell of libraries filled with books hundreds of years old?

Lori said...

Oooh, this is something that I think about very much. I read just as many print books as I ever have, though I am reading more digital works than ever. The attachment that I form with a book requires me to own it and as a result I have a gigantic collection. My boyfriend regularly complains that my books are taking over our small apartment, but even so he encourages me by buying bookshelves ("They're meant to be filled!").

Even so, I have many more books in digital form. Thousands of them. I would love to have a Kindle, and I will absolutely purchase one when it gets to its 2nd or 3rd gen.. I love the flexibility that the internet offers, that anyone can publish anything, that anyone can learn about anything that interests them. I would imagine that literacy rates around the world have increased as computers and the internet become part of everyday life for more and more people-- becomes more commonplace. There is a reason for someone to learn to read, because anyone can find something to fulfill themselves here.

But nothing will ever beat the nostalgia of a trip to the used book store. Nothing ever feels as comforting as taking some of my favorite volumes down from the shelf and leafing through them. If you wander through my library of an apartment, you will see books that are creased, books that have been handed down from my ancestors, books that's pages have been dog-eared and underlined. There are piles of books to be read, or re-read. I have left my mark, the mark of my unique experience and interpretation, on each and every one of these books.

There is something incredibly romatic about having a book that is tangible and organic to absorb knowledge from. I love my digital books, but the love for my weathered tomes will never, ever die.

But then again, I've always been a bit of a bookworm. I suppose loving books is an occupational hazard of sorts.

mirandaray said...

Anton! this is horrifying! what scares me about the digital age is how intangible and fleeting all our information now is. Think of how fast our technology changes; it's becoming obsolete faster than it's being developed. Because of that, we're going to lose a lot of information. Think about what would be gone forever if there was no written record. What if the Egyptians had used 8-tracks instead of scrolls. (yeah, it's a stretch but still...)

Martha Elaine Belden said...

i have to echo both christina and miranda. i know you and i talked about this last time i saw you... and i have to repeat myself. i'll be a stubborn ass about it till the day i die... but i will NOT read books digitally. i refuse. this may be the way things are headed... but i refuse. i'm glad you're excited about it... but i truly adore books. holding them, smelling them, watching as they become slowly but surely more apparently loved as i read and re-read them.

and no stupid "digital age" is going to take that away from me.

same with movie theaters. there really is something about sitting in a theater with a bunch of strangers, enjoying a magnificent (or simply entertaining) glimpse into the film makers' collective imagination. i hope we never lose that.