Why we need books more than ever


Why we need books more than ever
The entire book world is in turmoil right now. Bookstores are shuttering their doors and age-old presses are closing down. I met with a book editor this summer who told me, quite frankly, “Young moms aren’t reading books anymore. They’re on the Internet.”

Should this be a cause for alarm? What makes the book still relevant for us, and what exactly are we missing when we fail to crack those pages?


This is just another nostalgic piece ascribing value to books as things, without any real basis to the argument. I'm surprised she doesn't include the usual bit about how great books smell! In 40 years as a librarian I've yet to see anyone come into the library to smell the books!
None of her arguments are well-sustained. For example, she says: "Yet I would argue that the power of the printed word still makes the most indelible impression." No supporting arguments are presented for this.
She suggests, vaguely, that when books disappear, so does free access to information. On the contrary, I would think that most people would agree that widespread access to the internet has resulted in unprecedented access to information and rapid exchange of ideas. I will go out on a limb and say that recent collapses of totalitarian regimes may have resulted in part from the people's aspirations for freedom being developed via exchanges over the internet and other technologies.
The quotations in the article about the value of books are all, I think, pre-internet. I believe they are referring to books as sources of information rather than books vs other sources of information.
I had to smile when she attributes particular value to choosing from 1,000 books - on the internet you have vastly more choice.
Don't get me wrong, I value books and am still buying and borrowing them. To me, the real value is the in-depth information in books, and the quality of the illustrations. They are convenient to keep to hand if you are using them often. Many books are beautiful objects in their own right. I find I have more stamina reading a book than a screen (laptop or ebook reader). For me, it's horses for courses.

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