So I downloaded the newest iPod software yesterday. I only have a 16 gig 2nd gen iPod touch. Don’t get me wrong, I love my iPod. But I went without one for several years and could probably do so again. I only got it last year and really all I use it for is to listen to my vast collection of music while I’m at school or working on something. But apparently they (Steve Jobs) want it to look like the new iPhone 4 and were going to haggle me about updating the software until I agreed to play their mind game…which unfortunately, I did. So afer two failed attempts and countless hours later, the background on my iPod now looks like the new iPhone and I now have the ability to download apps and other crazy and pointless contraptions that will just take up more space and battery power. One such app is the iBook app. Notice the ever-loving “i” in front, the symbol of Jobs’ covert operation. iBooks is basically a bookshelf for your iPod in which you can download ebooks for a few countless dollars and have the ability to read them on your cell-phone sized screen and be able to turn the page with a swoosh of a finger. You are even given a FREE copy of Winnie the Pooh when you download it. Really? A.A Milne is turning over in his grave right now. What reading level do you think we are on Steve? We may be a technologically advanced society, but infants and toddlers have not yet gained the capacity to work an iPod. Notice I said “yet.” But until that day comes, why not give us some Tolstoy or some Stephen King? At least something with some substance and something that doesn’t rhyme every other word.
The whole concept of the ebook angers me. Amazon has their Kindle, Apple and Steve have the iPad and all their other devices. And now, even Barnes and Noble has the Nook and they are all coming out with “new and improved” versions every week or two. They say the purpose of an e-reader is to limit the amount of books one carries around and to alleviate all that weight. Well it’s not like I’m always carrying around copies of War and Peace and The Art of War. I always only carry one book with me at a time and it’s always in my purse, which is basically my overnight bag. What happened to the thrill of buying a new book? What happened to the love for that amazing “new book” smell? Are we so lazy today that we have to carry around an electronic device that probably costs more than the amount of books we buy in year in order to get our daily dose of literature? Not to mention, how can one seriously sit there and hold a handheld device in their hand for an hour and read off a bright screen no bigger than their palm? Call me crazy, but that sounds pretty unhealthy. My vision is bad enough as it is, and I really do not want to have to put my glasses on just to try and see what chapter I’m on. Call me a nerd, but I love the feeling of bound pages in my hand. I love the slick cover on a hardback and the way the flaps give hints about what’s to come. I love being able to pick a bookmark out of my collection and slide it through the page I left off on. E-Readers and iBooks alike are all a slap in the face to REAL books and publishers. No wonder bookstores are suffering, which is a sin and a shame in itself. However, the B&N seems to be doing pretty well since you feel like you’re walking into the Apple store every time you enter their doors. Instead of the New Releases, they now feature their entire collection of Nooks and their accessories in the very front of the store now so you can’t miss it. Way to go Jobs. Your ideas have taken over my bookstore. And if you go after my Starbucks next, I will come after you.
So that brings me to my final question. Can paper media survive the technological takeover? Will true readers be forced to put down their reading glasses and turn off their lamps and pick up an iPad when they want to read the newspaper? Will I have to bring an expensive device to school everyday and risk losing it or having it stolen just so I can have the required materials for class? Will our children learn to read from a screen as small as them? I don’t know about you, but I support the freedom to read and the freedom to pick a book off a shelf at a bookstore or library. And if you want to continue to give Steve Jobs a job while others are losing theirs because of technological advances like his, well then be my guest. But just know that I will write about it in my memoirs. Which will be going on a shelf at my local bookstore.