http://news.cnet.com/amazon-kindle-books-outselling-all-print-books/8301-17938_105-20064302-1.html today reports kindle book sales are now outselling print books 105 to every 100. What does this mean for the future of our literary pleasure?
From live performance to gramophone; gramophone to vinyl; vinyl to cassette; cassette to CD; CD to mp3. The natural evolution of format is an issue that music has dealt with for well over 200 years, the ever changing way we access the warbling of our favourite artist seeming to continually stay with the times. Music technology through the ages is as good a benchmark as to the technological level we have been at, as a species throughout history - constantly improving accessibility, portability, quality, and durability. Some may argue that digital musical technology has now taken this evolution to its peak. In addition to perfecting all of the above qualities we look for in our modern music enjoyment, digital technology has ensured something far more important; longevity. The digital world where our music both exists, and does not at the same time, ensures once and for all that nothing can ever be lost, never forgotten. Classical music written hundreds of years ago, yet now stored within our digital infrastructure will sound as clear in another 200 years as it does now, and for that we should be thankful.
One thing that should be mentioned however, is that this incessant driving forward of musical technology has in fact been championed by those responsible for producing it in the first place. Albeit for commercial reasons, the modern artist desires to reach a wider and wider audience, the ability to profit from two separate individuals located at opposite ends of our world sharing the same musical experience at the exact same moment when a song is released on iTunes. The question I would like to ask is; will your average author embrace the same exposure?
Contrary to the gradual evolution that musical technology has experienced, done so in the constant search perfection, we haven’t seen fit to alter the way we access books…well ever. This drastic and very immediate alteration has more of a feeling of forcing books into the digital era, akin to the stubborn grandparent who has refused to text…their argument? “I never needed to before”.
Just as my 1 year old daughter will undoubtedly ask me one day “Daddy, what’s a vinyl?” can we possibly comprehend of a time when our children, or our children’s children will enquire as to “what is a book?”.