Tablet, Slates, Ebooks etc vs. Real Books
So on the 27th January, Apple will (most likely) reveal it's Tablet. Or Slate. Or iBook. Or whatever it's going to be called. People are, no doubt, probably wetting themselves over this, and some, like me, are curious, yet can quite safely rest in the knowledge that I am 99.9% likely never to buy this. The 0.01% being if it were for some reason my only choice of computer/book/phone/whatever, which isn't all that likely.
Anyway. So what are we going to get? A jazzed up iPhone? A sort of netbook? Something like the Kindle? Or a mash-up of all of these? Probably the latter. Which is, you know, very impressive. Although my first problem would be; isn't the screen going to be pretty darn small once the keypad is 'activated' (or whatever you do with it)?
Well, it will be very useful for those people who love Apple, and want to use a computer on the go, but want something light. I do wonder if I'm missing something. Why all the fanfare? If it is what I said above, which is great - don't get me wrong - isn't it just something for the Apple fans? I mean, I dislike the interface, the style, the operating system, and all the apps., of Apple, which is what most people who dislike Apple dislike, so why is this going to be monumental? Seriously - I'm open to explanations.
My main point is that someone out there is probably spelling the end of newspapers and magazines - in fact, all print - because of this. You know, as in an Apple fanatic way - the Kindle didn't kill 'em off, but this will because this is Apple.
But I disagree.
Actually, I don't ever think that books, magazines and newspapers will be killed off. there are, in my mind, too many unique attributes to them, and situations in which actual print will only suffice.
Attributes such as smell and touch - the mere sensation of turning a page, the feel of the page, the musty smell of your favourite book you've had hiding on the shelves for years, and are now revisiting. The feel of a new book - the weight of it, the crispness of the pages - the luxury of buying a hardback, or the anticipation of the arrival of the paperback. The whole 'just to the end of this page'. Folding down the corners (not on my watch, but still). The smudging of ink on cheap books. Covers getting creased from use, or travelling. There are many, many things that only 'real' books can give you, and these are some of them, but all present to me reasons why I will never own an ereader.
The situations abound too; on the beach. In the bath. On the tube. In the bus. In fact, anywhere where there is water, or sand, or heat - come to think of it, I can just write 'anywhere', and be done with it. Have you ever not dared to take a book out of your bag and read it for fear of being mugged for it? Didn't think so. I think it's safe to say that as far as places and situations goes, books win hands down (except at some ebook/Apple/Kindle/etc cons...).
I like to think of books becoming the LPs of the literary world. Sure, there might be one day in the future, where our children's children all use ebooks, but there will be an extremely large group of people who remember what real books were like, as well as an extremely large group of people who might not remember them, but who use them all the same, for the smells, the useability, the joy, and the good old fashioned, full sensation, of really, truly enjoying a good book.