Monday, March 16, 2015

Print, Electronic and Content

"Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore" was the March selection for the Newberry book group.  Unfortunately, due to cold weather the book group discussion was moved and I missed it.  I can't complain too much because I was on vacation in Berlin, but still, I would have liked to talk about this book with the group.  Where to start?  This is an enjoyable book.  Read it soon, though, because it is going to be dated quickly.  Or maybe will be a funny reminder of the past.

I read this on the Kobo app and purchased the book from my local bookstore, Women & Children First.  Keep that option in mind if you have an iPad because you can download the Kobo app and read an e-book and still support your local bookstore.  Actually reading the book this way added a whole other layer to the themes the author covers.  I don't understand why people say they have to read books in paper/print.  I get the tactile sensation but, frankly, content is content.  This book wouldn't have been any better in print.  Also do I need to add another paper book to the world every time I read something?  I'm starting to think no and have been trying to use the library and Kobo more when I want a book.  Will I still buy books in print?  Sure --- and at a bookstore!!  That was a point that made me sad/mad in this book.  SPOILER ALERT - after everything that happens the bookstore closes.

Other parts of the book made me laugh because they are similar to things my company produces.  Let me tell you it's not that easy, or fast, to digitize content.  We digitize older content and it has to be done by hand by a human because of the fragile nature of the original.  Also, Google has a tendency to get bored with projects if they aren't going to make money so this idea that Google is going to digitize everything and put it online is not something I see happening.  I do like the parts in the book about Google making things easier that used to be hard and I do agree with that - especially trying to do general research for travel, eating out, restaurant reviews, researching products.  Again, I wish I had been able to talk about the book with the group at Newberry to hear their opinions on the changes in reading and formats.  Is this a good book for someone who loves reading?  I would say yes because it makes you think about favorite books or how we relate to books and the process of reading.**  Is it a good book for people who like bookstores?  I don't think so since it makes their future seem pretty bleak.

**In Berlin I saw a sticker at a bar for a book group that meets and everyone reads what they want at the same time and the same place.  The point was to get people to make reading more social and into public with others.  Interesting concept.

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