Suddenly here is individuality

“What would happen if the printed book had just been invented in a high-tech world in which people had never done their reading from anything but computer screens? The unquestionable advantages of the computer would not be threatened by this new product but the people, who so love to compare apples with pears, would be quite bowled over by this ultra-modern invention: after years spent chained to the screen they would suddenly have something they could open like a window or a door – a machine you can physically enter!

“For the first time knowledge would be combined with a sense of touch and gravity – this new invention allows you to experience the most incredible sensations, reading becomes a physical experience. And after experiencing knowledge only as a bundle of connections, as a system of interacting networks, suddenly here is individuality: every book is an independent personality, which cannot be taken apart or added to at will. And how relaxing these new reading appliances are, their operating systems never needs updating – the only thing that changes over the course of time is the message that they contain, which is always open to new interpretations.”

– Juan Villoro

(From an article in last month’s Cultura, an Argentinian culture magazine)

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4 responses

  1. Bravo. I’m a fan of this. :)

  2. I don’t get what he’s saying. Is he trying to say that books are better because they’re more “real”, or is he saying that we would ooooh and aaah over technological innovation, no matter what?

    Nowadays I prefer to do most pleasure reading on my Kindle. I prefer books if it’s something I’m going to use as a reference (like a gardening book or animal care book) because they are more browsable, but I do love that if I’m lying in bed, it’s a lot easier to hold a Kindle than hold a book open. I think both have their advantages and books won’t go away anytime soon.

    1. I think he’s saying that, in our rush to welcome new technologies, we forget what’s unique and valuable about books.

      I agree that both paper and electronic books have their advantages, but as I have a limited budget, I’ll be sticking with the paper ones right now. :)

  3. Fascinating… Nothing can ever replace the smell of a good book, or the feel of the paper as you turn the page. Reading on a device is so much less personal.

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