Interesting and well-expressed thoughts on the rapidly changing world of digital publishing and the link with the “physical”, ie reading on paper.
Literature, like most things, is taking different forms in the digital age.
Bookshelves, like CD and DVD racks, have disappeared from many a living room.
When everything can be downloaded to a computer at next to no cost whenever it is wanted,
why keep anything in physical form? Much as many of us still want the ability to hold a
complete publication in our hands as we read it, we would be wrong to suppose those who read literature on a screen cannot be equally enriched by the exercise.
The only people missing out on the full pleasure of the printed word are those whose
preferred media for news and entertainment is entirely visual.
Movies and television are wonderful art forms in their own right. We would all be less well
informed without the vision of events and people those provide. But reading is more
stimulating for the mind. Anyone who doubts that should read a novel and then see a movie
made from it. More often than not, the movie is disappointing. The book has prompted the
reader’s mind to create its own pictures and they remain more vivid than a camera can
The written word is the product of careful thought. Writers would say it is as much the
creator of thought as its product. The act of writing concentrates the mind, the choice of
words and the crafting of sentences clarifies ideas and refines them. The written word also invites disagreement and debate in a reader’s mind. It allows the mind to take the time to
focus on words and phrases that can be disputed. Visual and spoken material seldom
provide the mind with the same opportunity.
– NZ Herald
for the full editorial of May 12, 2016, see
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