Some great content from NPR has not only caught my attention today, but has gotten my mind thinking about information and librarianship (which shouldn't be too surprising, it doesn't take a whole lot to get me thinking about either topic).
First there is this article: At Amazon, E-Book Sales Outpace Hardcover. As I read it, I imagined bibliophiles around the globe FLIPPING OUT. I think there are a lot of implications to the fact that e-books are selling more than hardbacks on Amazons website, and I think there is some reading-between-the-lines that also needs to be taken into consideration.
There are multiple reasons why E-books appear so popular. First are the apparent reasons:
Aside from the cost of the reading devise, they're cheaper than most real books ($10 for an e-book versus $12 for a quality paperback, or $25 for a hardback).
We're a society who loves toys. With the proliferation of Kindles, iPads, iPhones, Nooks and what ever sad attempt Borders has at breaking into the market, there are more and more opportunities to read E-Books.
But on the other hand:
Reading the article, we have to realize that this information is specific for Amazon's website. People who buy things online are going to be way more tech savvy (and have more money) than people who don't. As a perpetually broke grad student, I refuse to give up the pleasure of reading just because I don't have the dough (or time). I do utilize the library more often than not - but when I want a "new" book to put on my shelf I head to Goodwill, where paperbacks are $.99 and I have yet to find a hardcover for more that $4. So while it may seem that more people are utilizing e-books, it's just that more of Amazon's customer's are.
While e-books are more and more common, no one is taking away actually books. Well, yet.
And, while amused at this story, I'm not too freaked out about it. Living in a digital age, digital content is becoming more and more familiar to people. People who constantly look at a screen for information are going to find comfort and convenience at looking at a screen for entertainment as well. When I ride public transportation to work, instead or reading the New York Times over someone's shoulder, I'm reading the New York Times over someone's shoulder on their iPhone. This is just the way things are going and I think folks are starting to get used to it...
And the other bit that caught my eye was a post on the the Monkey See blog: Why The Next Big Pop-Culture Wave After Cupcakes Might Be Libraries.
There's not a whole lot of analysis that needs to happen here. Blogger Linda Holmes just does a phenomenal job at describing the awesomeness of libraries and librarians. Between Gaga dance videos and The Old Spice Dude (and his Mormon knockoff, which I think is better than the real thing), the cultural presence of libraries is building some serious momentum, and there will be a culmination of society remembering how important they are as a democratic institution. And I'm looking forward to riding that wave.
Special thanks to Flickr user weir thru a lens for use of the cupcake photo.