By Regina Connell.
Does the book have a future?
All the froth says no. Even our grumpy, romantic tense of fatalism says no. But a lot of data says yes: there is something profound and human about the book. Less so about the e-book. And there is something powerful about the act of holding a book, of reading, and of collecting and remembering that reading.
We all thought that between 2008 and 2010, when e-readers were hitting the market and e-books sales were soaring, that the book publishing industry would go the way of the music industry—and expected the print book to follow the CD into obscurity. But since the Pew Research Center started its survey of Americans’ book reading habits in 2011, it seems that print books have shown a grit few had expected. Approximately two-thirds (65%) of Americans have read a print book in the last year, the same percentage as in 2012 and only slightly down from the 71% who read a print book in 2011. It doesn’t mean that print is fully thriving, but that it is at least alive.
A beautiful new book celebrates this urge to read and to hold what we are reading in our hands. It chronicles people reading: under trees, in crowded subway cars, or curled up at home. It’s one human experience that is instantly recognizable and, for the 83% of the world’s population that is literate, relatable.
If you’ve had a hard week, celebrate this. And the connection between (hu)man and object, between idea and manifestation. Feeling, touching, stroking, reading, dreaming, reflecting. It feels so good. So magical. So human. Hold onto that humanity.