One of the copywriters I follow on that there Twitter thingy pointed me in the direction of @Craigmod and his post about the iPad replacing paperbacks and just for good measure, "good riddance" to 'em.
It's first thing, Friday morning and I now feel slightly queazy.
In @Craigmod's words:
"We’re losing the throwaway paperback.
The airport paperback.
The beachside paperback.
We’re losing the dredge of the publishing world: disposable books. The book printed without consideration of form or sustainability or longevity. The book produced to be consumed once and then tossed. The book you bin when you’re moving and you need to clean out the closet.
These are the first books to go. And I say it again, good riddance."
Sure about that?
If we were losing all that, which I don't think for a minute we will be, I know exactly what I'd be losing:
A rough 'n' ready slab of ideas, thoughts, sillyness, profundity or outlandish imagination that I can pass onto and share with my little girl; an object of inspiration I can later recommend to my boys; a piece of culture I can hand over, whether I get the plot or not, and I can argue the toss over with The Missus over a glass or three of rioja.
I'd be losing a friend I can flick through, fan and ruffle the pages comfortingly like a handful of worry beads as I wait nervously for the plane to carry me off helplessly into the air.
I'd be losing a companion that readily accepts my marginalised pencilled-in little ramblings - our shared secrets together.
I'd be losing a novel that didn't sap me too much on a blazing beach; a book that wouldn't baulk at the blistering temperature or complain about the sand on its spine... or demand a screen for the glare... or insist on the highest levels of security whenever I fancy a dip in the sea.
I'd be losing a curled-up tome I can curl up with when I'm sleepless at 4am; a best friend I can nestle gently onto my other best friend's shoulder as she sleeps on, oblivious.
Books don't have to be disposable. Books can be recycled over and over, take on a life of their own and breathe life into the next few days, months or years for a complete stranger with wonderful schemes such as bookcrossing.
And more importantly, and increasingly so these days, books CAN be printed responsibly and sustainably.
After all, a well-thumbed, battered, bruised and loved book can often be the only sustenance we need.