Imagine If Ebooks Came First

Last week (June 8, 2016) pastor/author Tim Challies posted this interesting “what if” matter on his blog. In it he suggests that we would look at the ebook vs. standard print book debate quite differently if we reversed history. And I must admit, reading his article did make me appreciate the advances that have come with the Kindle and other ebooks. And I do use both – but in spite of the conveniences of the ebook, I still prefer the traditional book. Both forms are here to stay, at least in my home.

Here is a portion of what Challies posted; find the rest at the link below.

Imagine if ebooks came first. Imagine if Gutenberg had not created the printing press but the Kindle. Now, hundreds of years later, we are beginning to experiment with this new medium of paper and beginning to acclimate ourselves to printed books. Though on one level this little scenario is absurd, it can also be an interesting thought experiment. Stick with me for just a few moments and I’ll show you.

To understand some of the fear and criticism directed toward digital reading, we need to first understand the way we tend to relate to new technologies. We do not take any new technology on its own terms, but always in comparison—in comparison to what was dominant before it. In this way the old technology always has the upper hand and we consider it superior until the contender proves itself. You and I were born into a world dominated and shaped by the printed book. For this reason we are naturally inclined to consider it superior to all that has come before and all that will come after. We are disinclined to see the strengths of any new and competing medium, for to do that we must first admit the weaknesses of the old. This is especially difficult for a medium as important and well-loved as the book.

Perhaps one way we can better assess the book, though, is to imagine that it is threatening to disrupt the ebook, rather than the other way around. In this scenario, you sat on your mommy’s knee while she read Goodnight Moon from a tablet, you heard dad read Little House on the Prairie from his Kindle, and you spent your years of schooling learning from electronic textbooks. Gutenberg had worked tirelessly centuries before to perfect the Kindle but now Jeff Bezos is heralding the remarkable new technology of the printing press and the amazing books it churns out. Where would the new book pale in comparison to the old ebook? What are the reasons we would give to remain with the status quo? Here are a few:

Source: Imagine If Ebooks Came First

Published in: on June 14, 2016 at 7:19 AM  Leave a Comment