In chapter one, “Writing in the late age of print,” the “industrial age of print” is discussed. This marked a time of writers and publishers taking advantage of mechanized presses to create mass-publication newspapers, magazines, and novels (Bolter, J.D. 2001). The shift to mechanized printing displaced handwriting and the printed book became the most highly valued form of writing. We are again witnessing a shift in print and are now living in a time that is being coined as the “late age in print.” With the rapid growth of electronic technology, new possibilities now present themselves that are leaving the idea of print behind. “As we look up from our computer keyboard to the books on our shelves, we may be tempted to ask whether ‘this will destroy that’” (Bolter, J.D. 2001).
I related the “late age in print” to today’s change over from books to E-books. When I first heard of the Kindle, I had to have one. The thought of having a single device that holds over 1,500 books was both mind blowing and a dream come true to readers everywhere. Not only was it possible to carry hundreds of books in one hand, but I could now buy new books from anywhere. I could buy a new book from my desk at work or while sitting in my favorite reading spot in my room, no matter the time or location, with a few clicks of the Kindle keyboard, I could have a new book in minutes. All I had to do was search the Kindle store and download. Two easy steps that ensured I would never again have to worry about finishing a book without having a new one ready to read.
Although I am fascinated by this new technology, there are many people who do not share my enthusiasm for the Kindle or other E-readers. These people will argue that there is nothing better than an actual book. They will say an E-book cannot deliver the pleasure of flipping pages or the “book smell” that an actual book offers. While it is true that you cannot flip the pages of a Kindle and there is no scent of paper, ink, and the adhesive holding it all together, there is a new convenience that the Kindle and other E-books offer. A convenience that in my opinion trumps both page flipping and the scents a book gives off.
I do believe the electronic technologies pertaining to books to be on the rise, while printed books are on a slow decline. However, I do not see printed books to become altogether left behind. Not in this lifetime anyway.