Here are the occurrences that started me on the tangibility tangent.
- My musician friend Tim just self-released a CD and my copy arrived in the mail last week. I held it in my hand and thought, “Wow. This is for friggin’ real.” I put it in my car CD player and whoa, there’s Tim playing guitar and singing his heart out.
- A work colleague sent me some black and white photos of spectacular scenery at Dinosaur National Park in Colorado. They were Ansel Adams quality works. I found out that he lugs around tons of camera equipment and still uses FILM. That’s right – no digital camera for Mark. He even has his own darkroom.
- I bought my nephew Hunter a Kindle for helping me with some home improvement projects this summer. We had an interesting talk on printed books versus e-books – particularly what will it be like for him to teach comparative literature one day at the university level. Will his students even use printed books?
My next thought was “I sure hope my first book gets published before print books go the way of the dinosaurs and become museum oddities.”
That gut-level reaction spoke to the need (desire?) to hold something solid in hands so I could shout, “Here’s my book! Lookie! I’m published!” Wouldn’t I still be published if the book was only available electronically?
Most of the books I read now are e-books. I rarely buy CDs because I download most of my music to an iPod nano. I use a digital camera for all my photography and “store” photographs on the computer instead of in albums or boxes in the closet.
I have no doubt that Tim’s music would have been just as amazing as a download, or that Mark could use a fancy digital camera to take the same breath-taking photos.
We live in the digital age and most of us are pretty comfortable with that notion on a day to day basis. And my “aha” moment is that I’m okay with e-publishing if that’s what’s meant to be. I’m curious what you think. Is our world becoming less tangible bit by bit, or will our notion of tangibility just need to morph?