I date back to the Smith Corona days of newspapers, and I can fondly recall a group named something like the Anti All Digital Dialing League. I’ll not bow blindly to the gods of technology.
Within the book industry, I’m rooting for the survival of paper books and especially of the small independent stores selling them, even though I founded a popular e-book site. So I can understand the concerns of Dan Bloom, an American now living in Taiwan, who worries that the electronic medium will change the nature of reading for the worse. In fact, Danny has been on a crusade to replace the word “reading” with “screening.” in the case of e-books and other e-text such as online newspapers. The image on the right is from his related blog.
I myself disagree with Danny, seen in the above photo—especially since e-book displays will eventually have true paper-level quality and maybe even pages you can flip. My own little cause has been a well-stocked national digital library system, blended into our schools and libraries—with one goal being to accustom young people to reading old-fashioned novels in the new medium. While I don’t quite see things the way Danny does, I certainly agree that we shouldn’t take it for granted that long-form literature will survive. Consider all the online distractions such as Twitter and Facebook. I want both e-books and paper ones to thrive.
Meanwhile I’ll recognize the good intentions of Danny and others like him, despite our disagreements over details. Last week Danny almost died of a heart attack in Taiwan, and as one who’s been there, I’m wishing him a speedy recovery. Whatever the reason, his blog refers to “Danny Bloom (1949-2032).” I hope Dan can outdo the last number.