It’s not about e-books vs books

I find the e-books vs. books debate silly. Each day consumers make their choice about what to read and I’m willing to bet that it is seldom exclusively digital vs. traditional.

Rather, I always wonder when people talk about what children should read, when they read, why they read, why newspapers and magazines aren’t included in the discussion.

Sure, “reading” is about books and stories and the imagination. But comic books get thrown into this ‘just as long as they’re reading’ bag. Comic books, and not newspapers, are a part of this discussion?

Maybe so. We have two generations of non-newspaper readers, which has guaranteed that the medium will die, and not solely due to technological advances of the age. Did time pressure on the family or television or the breakdown of the family unit — pick any one you want, make one up of you like — really kill any incentive a child had in learning about the world around them on a daily basis? I don’t think so.newspapers

I believe that somewhere along the way, people bought into the notion that being informed is not important. But Being informed is being educated, as much as knowing reading, writing and arithmetic. Is it any wonder that in this new century arguments about evolution, health, history – whether a corporation is a person or not, for heaven’s sake – are taking place when education is failing our children, universities are being underfunded, teachings are vilified, and the simple act of finding out what’s happening in a community is on opportunity for political interpretation?

No winner in the e-book vs. book winner will decide any of those issues.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have been working in the news business for 35 years. I have worked in daily journalism 28 years. I write mysteries and short stories to amuse myself, and hopefully, amuse other people enough so that I might sell some copies of my books. That reading has taken a back seat to so many activities in this modern world that people like Neil Gaiman have to argue that reading and libraries are necessary  is pitiful. I believe that pity has a twin. It’s name is information in the modern age. I believe we will attend its funeral quite soon.

What do you think?


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One thought on “It’s not about e-books vs books

  1. I am always amazed, kinda shocked even, when I start reading to/with my students and see the shock in their eyes as they realize how much fun reading actually is. Format is completely irrelevant. Content matters, and critical thinking.

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