Home / Fall 2011 / Chapter closes for Borders

Chapter closes for Borders

The faltering economy seized yet another beloved store this past summer as Borders bookstores all across the nation prep to shut their doors for the last time.

As it held a special place in my Augusta heart, I visited the store when I went home. As I browsed the wooden shelves for the final time, I started to think about a possible future—a future where bookstores and libraries no longer held printed pages and hardback covers, but memory cards and LCD screens.

Where technology is traveling, the cyber-world will dominant, and this will become a reality. For now, though, the printing press can breathe a little easy. We still need books; not everyone has a Kindle or Nook, and some still prefer a paperback to a plastic-back. It will also take decades to convert every novel, every encyclopedia, and every anthology to an all accessible computer file.

Now I know that not everyone cares about reading or about Borders closing. Not everyone prefers a physical book; some people like Kindles and computers and think this digital movement is a revolution. Not everyone goes out and buys books for leisure, but I bet everyone on this campus has bought, rented or used a textbook.

Now, thanks to the digital age we are (or are not, depending on your standpoint) fortunate to be a part of, we can read textbooks on computers and portable devices.

This digital alternative does have perks, such as offering a more eco-friendly, lighter way to handle textbooks.

However, there are some things that a Kindle does not hold over a textbook.

Studying is a task, as all students know, that can involve several books. With a Kindle or Nook, sure you can have more than one file open at a time, but you can’t have more than one shown on the screen at a time. Thanks to the physicality of a textbook, you can have two or more sprawled out on your desk at once and can look between each one as much as needed.

Textbooks aren’t waterproof by any means. However, if you get one wet you can still use it. Without a waterproof cover, if you get your Kindle wet, it, like any other electronic, will malfunction, and you would have to pay to get it fixed or replaced.

While reading a chapter for homework, you might want to highlight important facts or write in the margins. You can use the Kindle to do these functions, but you would have call them up rather than have them conveniently on the page. Also, there is the risk of you losing or accidentally deleting the files on a Kindle, whereas, something written in a book stays there unless you purposely erase it.

When you read through a chapter, you might want to post-it or dog-ear several pages. The Kindle will allow you to save multiple place settings, although you will have to go searching for them later. With a textbook, you can automatically flip to your saved page and even hold it open while you flip to another page.

All electronics have kinks that need to be worked out or will encounter problems later on. Books are simple and have survived centuries. Call me old-fashioned, but I still enjoy going to bookstores and libraries and hold a physical publication in my hands. I like the crossroads we are in, where books and internet survive and thrive. I know, however, that we will eventually travel past books to technology. I just hope that it will happen when everyone is prepared for it.

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One comment

  1. Welcome to the 21st century, Gramps!

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