(This started out as a short parenthetical, whoops): To me, the debate about e-readers versus traditional print books is misguided. Print books aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, and neither are libraries. E-books, however, are here to stay, and thank goodness. I love my Kindle. But to me the point is less about how one chooses to read a book and more about whether or not one bothers to read at all. And it’s not just about reading a hardback, paperback, on a Kindle, Nook, or iPad, fiction or non-fiction, I don’t care; it’s become more a question of whether or not people are even capable of (or care to) concentrating long enough to read anything for sustained periods of time. That’s why I love this cartoon from The New Yorker, and why it is disheartening.
Having become so accustomed to digesting information in sound bites, in one hundred forty characters or less, via status updates full of links to more links, the idea of reading a three hundred page book hasn’t just become laughable, for many people it’s become impossible — not the act of reading itself, but the willingness to sit down and try, the idea that something about the activity of reading is worth the time it takes.