As I was walking the galleria yesterday and saw that the 40-year-old retail chain Borders was officially closed I got rather nostalgic, and it got me thinking about the future of the written word. I remember being a small child and feeling elated when my parents told me that we could go to Borders to pick out a book. It was where I explored different genres of literature – and got to try my first cup of coffee. While half of me reminisced on these thoughts, the other half wondered if books being compressed into tablets would mean less people would be reading.
The other day, in response to Amazon’s singles Apple added quick reads to the iBooks section of its bookstore. These single-serving books are aimed at an audience with a busier schedule or appetite for something lighter than War and Peace. Books that can be read in one setting will bolster the public’s intake of the written words, as people will subsequently pass through more titles. While digital advances in literature may gravitate towards an inclination more associated with monetary versus literary pursuit, two companies competing for dominance in the realm of iBooks will ensure that the books are not going anywhere, they are just changing format as we know them.
Speaking of Amazon, they are anxiously awaiting the outcome of talks to incorporate a digital library similar to Netflix where customers will be able to view e-book content for a monthly membership fee. While offers are still on the table and the deal is still in the negotiation phase, large romantic libraries with dusty shelves might soon become a thing of the past.
Written communication has advanced from cave paintings on rock slabs to touch screens on iPads. While one may remain nostalgic about the memories of the past, newer technologies that get rid of paper waste is useful and taking advantage of it allows us to be more versatile players in the digital space. The portability of taking an +800-page novel condensed into a lightweight device that you carry around with you already allows people the flexibility to read what they want whenever they want.
So although paper books may soon be a thing of the past and our dear friend Borders closed its doors, at least I got to take advantage of their 40% off… and every girl likes a good sale.