It feels like not that long ago that I was sitting with my friends and we were discussing the merits of living in a Star Trek era. Or being like the Jetsons, when we would have robot maids and personal communications devices. It feels like a short time ago, but in all actuality, it was the mid 70s and Star Wars had just been released to pique our interests even more.
Thankfully I am of an age now to be able to compare that time with this, and I know how very fortunate I am to be living in this modern age, watching my Roomba clean my floor. Although we still have many gaps to overcome, here, I just want to sing the praises of ebooks, (the devices that I am sure my mates and I verbally prototyped in the early 80s!). And although I am a huge proponent of paper, paper all things paper, I also love the idea of being able to read an entire book, and even have an entire library on one, slim, waterproof device. Where I can read at night and not need a light, and with the added accessibility for a voice reader to read to me should I be unable to turn a page or lift a book or see the words on the leaf.
And did I mention ‘library’? Entire tomes can be delivered to anybody, anywhere on one, small device, via computer or phone, not in order to extinguish the grand old book, but to enhance its delivery and make it even more accessible to the hungry, reading public.
I know there are debates, paper vs electronics. But I just want to say, that I myself feel very fortunate that we can choose, and we don’t even need to choose, we can use both, which is what I do. I have a stack of paper books here beside me, but sometimes I will just pick up my iPad and read an ebook because maybe the paperback was not available, maybe the price was better or maybe just because it was an easier thing to grab in the moment. And tonight I might grab a paper book because it is my old favourite, because it’s okay if I drop it and I know I won’t need to worry about charging it. It may not exactly be waterproof bath reading, but I know from experience paper can be dunked a good number of times before the ink fades, pages crack and I need to replace it. And maybe when I do, I will choose the ebook, because I know they are almost always available and I know my favourite words will never be lost.
Publisher’s note: Tidewater Press is pleased to be participating in the Accessible Reading Project, with the Association of Book Publishers of BC and the National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS ). This project is making a collection of accessible BC-published ebooks available to library patrons who access BC Library systems via the BC Libraries Cooperative.