Nooks are not good subs for books.

While I love technology, I don’t think these e-books will ever “beat out” their ancestral paper books.  Recently I was just thinking of random ideas; I wondered if it would be possible that in the future we would have no use for paper, and that it would be “outdated” technology.  However I quickly dispatched this notion simply by thinking of all the great books I’ve held in my hand from “The Namesake” to Sun Tzu’s “Art of War.”  I quickly came to the conclusion that even if paper documents, notes, and school textbooks go out of style, a good book would not.

Why would I write a letter when I can send an e-mail?  Who needs a 250$ textbook when you can get the downloadable pdf version for 50 dollars or less?  Why would I spend money on a paper spiral notebook when I can just use a stylus to write on my smartpad for free?  Now without getting too technical, I understand there are some cases where writing a letter is more formal and nicer than just an e-mail.  Also that some people prefer writing on paper since they don’t have a smartpad.  However I’m talking about much further into the future when these smartpads become dirt cheap and is available to everybody, as they probably will.  Documents can be signed online, tremendous amounts of information can be stored safer (debatable) and with potentially more organization than paper documents.  One thing that I think will never “go out of style” is the good old fashion hardback or paperback book filled with hundreds of sheets of wood pulp.

One day when I was attempting to go pass out resumes to various businesses, many major companies simply would not accept them in paper form.  Perhaps they’re too busy, perhaps it saves time, but I thought to myself man, maybe I’m starting to get old and fall behind on the times, or maybe I just want to present myself in person.  Regardless the idea that so much that used to be done on paper, can be done electronically really entered my mind that day.  Could paper be out of style one day?  I pondered this question for a while, then thought probably not, I think people will always want BOOKS.

Even if people begin signing their lives away on contracts electronically, or no one ever buys a spiral notebook for class again, or textbooks become no longer available in paper form, I think books will always be “classic.”  First of all, I fear the health consequences of having an “electronic book” in my lap.  Sure there isn’t enough significant data to prove what I’m about to say, but I personally fear them, and I’m sure others out there are cautious of these issues too.

Let’s say I’m uncomfortable even keeping my keys and cell phone in my pocket for fear of the effect it may have on my future offspring.  Every once in a while I do keep a laptop on my lap, however I try to minimize these things as much as possible.  I also refuse to believe that electronic screens don’t harm your vision.  Now if I was a much more avid reader, the last thing I would want in my lap is one of these electronic books that hook me into staring at it for hours on end.

Health rant aside, I think paper books will never go out of style.  Books show sophistication, education, and knowledge.  Some have collections of books but have only read a few of them (I am partially guilty of this myself).  Regardless, those who truly enjoy reading probably won’t get into ebooks.  I think they are just a fad.  Those who truly enjoy reading like holding a tome in their hands as they flip through the pages entrenched in story.  They like the feeling of the thickness of pages traveling from your right hand to left hand (depending on the country).  They like the feeling of collecting books, storing them on a bookshelf, and having people see what they’ve read over the years.  With e-books, they lose almost all of this.  No one can see what you’ve read.  You don’t get the sensation of flipping through pages.  It just isn’t the same sense of completion.  Ultimately I feel in the case that I am wrong, and e-books do become the norm, PAPER novels will become extremely expensive (since demand might be low), but those who truly love and seek knowledge will pay a high price for “The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn”,  the story of “Jane Eyre”, “A Tale of Two Cities”, or the epic “Odyssey.”

Conclusion?  The book business will be here to stay, just not the same as it used to be.

My first attempt at finding a “story” for a series on the “elderly.”

I had an idea for a potentially interesting topic I could blog about which can be found here:

I finally pushed myself to “open up” a conversation with a random older man who looked in his 70’s-80’s.  While I have seen many older people, the difficulty I feel is how to initiate the conversation without saying “hey I’m trying to write stories about old people.”  Either way the conversation began somewhat awkwardly.  Almost like when you try talking to the opposite sex and you happen to say something you realize wasn’t that funny or made you feel awkward.  Except fortunately, I had moments of “sorry I couldn’t hear you” and was able to rephrase what I was saying.

Regardless I opened with “Hi sir, I was wondering what you might have felt were some of the most interesting changes in the past 30 years or so.”  I wasn’t sure how far back to go and just decided to settle with 30 for some reason.  His first response was in a low whisper as he leaned forward “when the blacks got their freedom, it was a huge change” hoping not to offend the Asians in the restaurant.  He started questioning my motives, and I finally said “I’m trying to share stores of the past, perhaps get some insight on how older people feel about how the world has changed.”

Finally he gave in and told me another momentous occasion was the birth of his grandchildren.  However with that, I asked if he’d care to share any details on how he felt, and he refused.  Which is understandable since that’s somewhat private.  We continued the conversation and I told him my ultimate goals, and intentions for the stories.  I continued to say that “today, everybody is sharing every aspect of their daily lives on Facebook and all these technological advances, and I want to try and share stories of older people who aren’t as tech savvy, stories that may be lost, and even how they view society today compared to back then.”

The man seemed very intrigued.  He continued the conversation and I asked about another issue, instead of just going back 30 years, I asked him to just name anything.  I had a feeling he was going to say WWII, and that’s exactly what he mentioned, to which I took the opportunity to shake his hand for serving.  He talked about a few countries he was stationed in.  I asked him if he’d be even willing to share anything from that experience.  He again refused.  However the look in his eye didn’t seem to be one of “it’s too private.”  I feel the look in his eye was “he would love to share his story, but given the circumstances, and situation, he was unprepared to discuss any of it with me at that moment.”

Anyways, he denied me the opportunity, and said “I don’t share much besides when I talk to my grandkids.”  Either way, he commended me on how good of an idea it was.  However I did find one final question that would have at least brought back some good memories.  Something not too “personal,” “not fishing for intricate details,” just a simple question many people could probably relate to.

I asked him what his first car was.  He had a look of nostalgia for a moment.  A smile rose in his face, and he said “A Chevy.  A Chevy with a rumble seat, the ladies liked that.”  We both laughed.  He seemed to appreciate the idea that I brought back some good old memories for him.  He said the past isn’t something he really reflected on.

Surprisingly he didn’t really mention anything about technology besides the fact that he doesn’t really use it much.  Either way I’m glad I was able to potentially bring some good memories back to this guy.  Hopefully I’ll be able to find a good candidate to write about.  I’ll have to contact my grandparents.