Will Books Survive?


Image by LEEROY Agency from Pixabay

Anisa Richard, Staff Writer

In today’s society technology and the internet basically rules over everything and even can control where we go and when we go there. Things like reading are now done on nooks or kindles which some people find more accessible. It can be quite helpful, maybe even too helpful to the point where we rely on it and almost forget about the physical aspects of things which is quite understandable. However, I draw the line when people or society forgets how to respect the physical world while getting caught up in the technological world. Books are being forgotten, and the morbid part of it all is that even the nooks and kindles can’t save them from their inevitable demise. 

I work at a Health Food store as a cashier and often times business can get slow, so I bring my book to have something productive to do instead of being on my phone. As I’m reading, almost all the customers that come in say the same thing when they see me. They spit out the line “People still read?” About 85% of our customers are seniors, so when they ask me the same question or something similar to that what they actually mean is “You kids still read?” I wouldn’t blame them though because kids don’t read nowadays. The chances are low that you could find a young person reading a book let alone reading in public instead of being on some sort of electronic device. Which is why another thing that customers often say really upsets me. They’ll walk up and ask me what book I’m reading and when I reluctantly say the title they always have the same response, “I’ll have to check that one out”, while making no effort to take out a pen or pencil to write down the title. They act interested for some reason and maybe it’s because they feel guilty because somewhere inside them they realize they are just like the rest of almost all of the population who turn into mindless drones addicted to the effects of electronics or the internet. However, the older people aren’t the only ones who do this.

Books are being forgotten, and the morbid part of it all is that even the nooks and kindles can’t save them from their inevitable demise. 

Teenagers are the group most affected by the internet’s addictive touch. With apps such as Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and thousands of more, it can be really easy to keep your phone glued to your hand for one reason only: To browse. Although there are still teenagers who read, there are only a select few who do it for the enjoyment, or who actually treat physical books with respect.

Books are treated badly all around, but a high school can be the worst place for a book and how ironic it can be because there’s a library in each high school. With the chaos of a teenagers life including sports, family, college, stress of future plans, a book can be the last thing someone worries about. Pages are dog eared with the lack of care to go find a bookmark or simply just a piece of paper. Books are used as coasters, forgotten in the backseat of cars, or pages ripped to make a fleeting note. 

At my high school, I spoke with a librarian who has been dealing with damaged books for as long as she’s been here. When I asked about the extent of the damage to books, she explained more about it. She says water damage is a real problem right next to disfigurement . Books are coming back bent weirdly from being stuck in a confined place forgotten for a long period of time, and some come back missing entire covers. When asked if she believes things will ever get better or possibly worse she tells me about a new book system with a whole new format. She holds onto hope that this new website for searching through the book system will attract more attention, let alone respect.

 Although electronic reading could possibly save reading altogether when your reading on a tablet or any other electronic device, the book can still definitely be forgotten. An instagram notification might pop up and immediately, like an addictive stimulus, it is clicked on. In just the span of a few seconds, the book is forgotten, and if it wasn’t forgotten that might even be worse.

People love to read on electronic devices because it can indeed be more convenient. In the dark, you don’t have to grab a flashlight because the device glows, but is this convenient or dangerous? Computer vision syndrome as well as digital eye strain are both vision related problems that stem from prolonged screen time. After about 2 hours of constant use, a discomfort starts to rise in the retinal cells. This is a damage that can cause long term vision problems. Although these problems are very serious and almost all electronic readers are susceptible to it, people still prefer electronic devices.

This is the start of the end of physical books. I’ve read many books about a future society with no physical books or any sort of physical documents at all. A utopia of technology, and for me that is my nightmare.