What happened to the book?

Ryan Lewis - Contributing Columnist

Books are a very important part of my life. I own a rather large collection, though I have downsized over the years. One of the things that has gotten me down as of late is the relatively sharp decline of print media.

The advancement of technology has made print nearly obsolete. When you can sit on your couch on a tablet or computer, ironically enough, the size of a book, and with the touch of a finger download nearly any newspaper, book or magazine, there just doesn’t seem to be much need for the hard copy.

Unfortunately, I cannot seem to buy in to this trend. All the people in my life, with the exception of my mother, have been doing it for quite some time now and maybe it is just two sentimental people having trouble departing with things we hold dear, but I think there is more to it. My mother is an English teacher and terrific poetry writer. I too went to school for English and write fiction. Maybe it has something to do with that. Maybe we are partial towards the art of the chapbooks and the novels.

While e-readers are more convenient, they can be hard on the eyes for some. They have been known to cause headaches to some people. And while they are convenient, I have said and maintained for quite some time now that nothing can replace a hard copy. There is a certain feel to a bound book in your hands that cannot be had by swiping this way or that to turn the page. There is the ability to go back 50 pages in an instant that is sometimes difficult to do with an e-reader. Most of all, for myself, there is the joy of collecting.

Most of the books I own that mean something to me are first editions. They are an extension of myself. One of the very first books that introduced me to reading in the sixth-grade is “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” Instantly I fell in love with reading and centered my life around it. Pretty soon I began writing. I think with the advent of e-readers, it started to become easier for people to self-publish, and when people began self-publishing the market became saturated by questionable writing. It has gotten to the point where looking up books to download on an e-reader is a gamble. You could find something that is extremely underrated or find — which seems to be the case most of the time — something that is a struggle to get through the first 10 pages. While e-readers may have made it easier for people to publish their own books and have probably helped get more people involved in reading, there is something to say about the lack of quality currently on the market.

I don’t believe books will ever be phased out completely. I believe books will always have a special place in this world. There are still those of us who collect books and always will and will stubbornly fight technology until the day we die in order to preserve the art. It is not so much a popular opinion these days, because a lot of people love technology and love the direction we are headed in with technology, but sometimes technology is not always a good thing. Sometimes technology tries to take away an important part of our history and lives.

Until next time, keep reading.


Ryan Lewis

Contributing Columnist

Reach Ryan Lewis at wlewis@civitasmedia.com or 580-482-1221 ext. 2076.

Reach Ryan Lewis at wlewis@civitasmedia.com or 580-482-1221 ext. 2076.

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