Book vs. Machine by Nicholas Fulton

I love a good book as much as the next person. I do however feel that due to recent technologies books aren’t long for this world. We have seen through our studies so far in CultureNet that books and stories and poems can be encountered in so many new and exciting ways through digital mediums. I love computers, tablets, pda’s, and kindles. Does this mean I love machines more than books or is a book just an older form of machine?

A book has moving parts, a purpose it has been programmed to meet, and some code which to draw from. It has the means to reference it at any time to backup one’s own feelings or thoughts and it offers a way to broadcast information from one person to the masses. At first glance it’s like any other digital medium out there. A book has a purpose or message, inside it’s filled with code that follows in a structure we have come to know off by heart, the message is laid out in such a way that it allows for the broadcasting of information to anyone with the knowledge to read it. Once a person has interacted with a book it has served its purpose. Then really what is the difference between a book and a kindle.

Everyone longs for the days of carrying that paperback around with you. Something tangible that offered insight into who you are as a person. Was it a romance novel, a text book on biology, a dictionary, or the works of Emily Dickenson? You could carry this object around with you and escape into it at anytime. Growing technologies have offered other forms of machines to this world of individuality through the object you carry at your side. What do you carry now, an iPod full of personalized music in your own personalized colour. Is it rather a kindle you choose filled with your own choice of readings or a personalized laptop with a 3g USB stick to access what you want when you want?

The importance of books will never fade nor will the idea of what they bound in their covers. A book is information. If we keep this in mind then even with our ever changing technologies we can hold onto this idea of a book. I think with how technology is expanding to become portable, the book is being made more accessible. A world is being created where whenever you write a research paper each citing can be linked to the original through a click of the mouse on the quotation. The possibilities are limitless in the digital world on how to connect or make richer. The creation of a giant web of thoughts is upon us. For now we are leaving the book behind as a way for publishers and writers to make money and stepping forward into a world with a collective ever changing ever expanding book called the internet. Could you imagine a paperless world?


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