I find myself having the same conversations over and over these days. As a book lover, it’s frustrating that many people — at least among non-book-lovers — can’t predict the demise of books fast enough.
History is filled with famous book lovers, pontificating on their love of the printed word. But are books and book lovers still relevant in the 21st century?
If you love to read more than the average fool, join me in educating everyone you know about these three misconceptions:
One: Books Are Going Away
This one’s a given, right? Nothing could be further from the truth. Books are evolving, for sure, and over time more books will be read on a digital screen than on paper. But we need to update the definition of a book: It’s not a pile of bound paper. It’s a long-form composition or literary work, regardless of the medium on which it is presented. A book on a Kindle is every bit as much of a book in hardcover format, just as Terminator is still a movie whether you see it in the theater or at home on a DVD. And have you been on an airplane lately? It’s filled with people reading their books.
Two: Libraries Are Becoming Irrelevant
Anyone who claims this simply hasn’t been to a library recently. Libraries are busier than ever, as I was recently reminded by comments on my own blog. Ask any librarian and they will tell you the digital revolution has only spurred interest and activity at the local library. Many libraries offer free Internet access, job training, free digital downloads, and overnight Kindle loaners, in addition to printed books, magazines and other valuable material. The vastness of written content has only increased our reliance on libraries and librarians to help find what we need.
Three: The Internet Replaces the Need For Books
It’s true that the Internet provides us with access to more information (and more misinformation, but that’s another article altogether) than ever before. But books offer much more than just information.
In this age of distraction, books teach us the dying art of focus.
Book lovers, in stark contrast to those who denigrate books, are long-term thinkers with the patience to work our way through lengthy works, difficult subjects, complicated plots, and hidden sub-text. We’re not distracted by the noise of the digital age, get rich quick schemes, or the need for instant gratification.
If you think about it, the world is mostly run by book lovers. Politicians and candidates, business leaders, teachers and parents continue to hone their skills with books.
Take Bill Gates, for example, perhaps the world’s best known proliferator of the Internet. Surely he’s moved on from books by now, right?
To the contrary, Gates is reputed to take twice-annual reading retreats, where he does nothing but read books for a solid week. Bill Gates, book lover, is living proof that even the Internet cannot replace the need for books.
So that’s my rant on the most common misconceptions about books and book lovers. Tell your friends, and keep on reading!