So there was this game series titled “Myst” that was published a while back. It was an adventure/puzzle type game that was actually pretty popular.
Hmm? What does this have to do with books? Hold on, I’m getting there …
I don’t remember playing the game, although I’m sure I did. I do however remember a series of books that was published based on this game and it’s sequels. The first one was titled Myst: The Book of Atrus, and believe it or not, it was a fantastic book. It was great not only because of the story, but because of the actual, physical book. The way it was made, the paper it was printed on, I immediately fell in love with it long before reading the story. And next books that were published were made in the same manner. It wasn’t just a plain hardcover book; I had my share of those. The way the book itself was created made you want to pick it up and examine it, which made you curious enough to read it.
So let’s fast forward to today. Bookstores are becoming more and more a rarity because of the juggernauts that online stores like Amazon are and things like eBook readers and tablets. Why carry a book when an iPad can not only let you carry dozens if not hundreds of them? The Kindle devices are the even smaller than a tablet, and as an eBook reader they set the bar. I actually have a tablet AND a Kindle, and there are thousands of people like me. You can get digital comic book subscriptions, you can get magazines paper and/or digitally … why on earth would you actually buy a physical book or magazine?
Libraries are going the way of the dodo. When’s the last time you walked into a library? With Google and Wikipedia and the like, why go to a library? Do you have any idea how to use the Dewy Decimal system? Better, do you even remember what it is?
When I was a kid we had a bible. Yeah, I know, most people do. But this one was given to us by someone, and it was HUGE. The paper wasn’t normal paper … it had gold trim, and the smell … I have no idea what that smell was; maybe the ink, maybe the paper, maybe it was just old. But there was something about it … not just the words that were contained within it, but the actual book itself had a weight, it had a presence, so much so that I just loved flipping through it. I discovered a passion for reading at an early age, and an appreciation for a beautifully crafted book along with it.
I used to carry a book around with me in my bag, but I’ve long since moved to consuming information electronically whether it be for work, education or entertainment. But I will say this … my next home will have a library. And in that library will be a huge globe, a huge map of the world, a beautiful rare Bible, a set of encyclopedias (assuming I can track one down), and that Myst series. There’s room for both the physical and the digital in my world. How about you?
Talk to you soon!