Aaron Wall says books are irrelevant “for all but true enthusiasts, desperate people seeking a manifesto for life change, or those who read as an escape.”
I don’t think it’s like that. Books and online content are not an either/or kind of thing. Most people “surf” the web and scan pages for an items here and an item there. The web is great for that, among other things. But it’s not so good for reading a hundred thousand words in sequence. Although there was a lot of hand wringing about a recent Associated Press-Ipsos poll that showed a quarter of Americans didn’t read a book last year, the real news is that three-quarters of Americans still read books. Historically, that’s a very high percentage. You probably know someone who read a novel or a memoir recently. Did they read it online?
I didn’t think so.
Books are a perfected technology. The earliest books, much more than a millennium old, are still perfectly usable, while your computer files from twenty-five years ago may be useless. But I’m not here to put down the web or computer technology. It’s all good.
The point is, it’s true the book industry is in trouble. But the book itself is not. It’s a proven survivor. No worries.