I invited our summer editorial intern, Ben Isenstein, to write a blog entry for this week’s TFCB posting. Ben is a sophomore at Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri. He is majoring in comparative literature and is minoring in marketing.
Dear those of you who are tech savvy enough to read this,
As the world moves farther and farther away from paper, I, the son of a printer and the intern of a book publishing company, ask you to remember that trees grow. I love the whole ‘go green’ thing as much as the next bright-eyed, bushy-tailed teenager, and I think that our planet is nice and pretty and we don’t want to screw it up, but we need to take some things into account before we blame paper.
1. Tree hugging is uncomfortable. It also restricts your movement and gives you splinters.
2. There are no trees where seals live, so clubbing baby seals has nothing to do with paper production.
3. Salad/fiber is really good for you, but if there was a shortage on lettuce, it wouldn’t suddenly be good for you to eat online virtual lettuce.
My third point is probably the most valid and applicable–and…if you read between the lines…you might see a parallel to books! There’s something about holding a book in your hand and following the trails of barbecue sauce and chip stains drizzled around the words that you just can’t replicate with an e-book. Feeling the ink. How does an e-book look on your shelf? Cover art just isn’t as pretty when you can’t feel it under your fingertips–or at least put it up somewhere for someone to marvel at how smart you are.
So while it’s nice that the Internet age makes it so easy for you to read the dumb stuff that I think while I lie in bed with a cup of water and a crick in my neck, this whole technology thing is finding a way to pull that emotion and nostalgia out of reading. I like nostalgia.
Don’t get me wrong. E-books allow an interaction between the reader and writer that makes the create- your-own-adventure books quake in their boots, and they are completely reinventing and reinvigorating the game. But there’s just something about opening that same Harry Potter book that I stood in line for six hours for, proceeded to refuse to put down until I finished, read by and in the pool, spilled all sorts of food and drool over, and then re-read for the rest of the summer and have sitting on my desk at home. It all comes back to nostalgia. It just isn’t gonna be the same.
Don’t forget to check in next week for more from TFCB!
[Photo: courtesy of Wikimedia Commons]