I come from a generation for whom the books and records on the shelf signaled, in some way, who you were. If you visited a friend, you took the first chance you had to surreptitiously scan that friend’s shelves to get a handle on the person. I suppose I could sneak a peek at a friend’s Kindle, but is that the same? And try that kind of snooping on a bus or in a coffee shop and you’ll probably get arrested.
Oh shoot me, please. Do you think Medieval Monks also lamented the advent of the printing press because they could no longer look over the shoulder of those who were creating book transcripts by hand?
The truth is, electronic books could potentially lift entire communities out of literary poverty. Sure, there should be political will for that to happen (access to the e-books readers in the first place), but if that not so minor gap was bridged, I cannot imagine the potential for children, young adults and really anyone who wants to read but has little or no access to books. Only accessing what is already freely available at Project Gutenberg and other similar sites would be enough to keep someone intellectually stimulated for a lifetime.
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