Camiolo: e-Readers kindle mass media revolution

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the future is here, so kick back, relax and get ready to serve as a sobbing power source for our robo-overlords.

Sure, there is something marvelous about the advent of modern technology, like the creation of lucrative career paths for our more intelligent social pariahs, but one has to wonder where that magic line is drawn. At what point do we have too much technology that it becomes grossly unnecessary? If you ask many avid readers, they will tell you that the line is solidly drawn at books.

Long considered one of if not the most lasting and prominent achievements of a cultured society, the book has been a powerful tool throughout human history. Furthering ideas and cultivating the soul and imagination of humanity, books have started wars, led revolutions, preserved ancient ideals and provided inspiration to countless people for as long as they have existed. As far as the physical book goes, however, there haven't been many developments as of late. Sure, the manufacturing aspect has become more efficient and there are fewer leather bound books, but all in all, a book has been recognizably a book since even before the Gutenberg printing press replaced the laborious monks of medieval Europe.

Until now.

I'm sure we are all familiar with the Amazon's Kindle, a portable electronic reading device. Ironically, its invention will effectively burn its beloved predecessor to disrespected ash. Capable of downloading entire novels almost instantly, the Kindle is sleek, thin and elegant —essentially everything that Britney Spears is not. With this capability, lightweight design and a 3G network supporting a Wikipedia powered encyclopedia, it is more akin to Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy than anything has been before. This new competitor to such an established institution makes reading more convenient than the avid reader's usual modus operandi, reducing several hundred pounds of books to mere ounces.

The majority of people who read actively for enjoyment are not exactly thrilled about the creation of this new device. Most, including myself, are firm believers that while the new reading device is convenient, it simply cannot replicate the feeling of reading a book, because books bear a certain fond nostalgia of which the digital e-Reader is completely devoid.

This feeling exists in our generation, however, because we grew up with paper books. Books were a huge part of my childhood and development and thus I feel fondly about paperbacks. But what happens to the next generation? When entire school libraries will be condensed onto a single flash drive and new and more advanced e-Readers come out, will any of our children even see a book in school? And let's be honest, there isn't a student alive who does not wish that he only had to carry a single e-Reader instead of the mountain of textbooks that we are each assigned.

We are a generation devoted to the written word in the dawning of an age of digital. Books have furthered ideas and helped society evolve, but they are ultimately not immune to an evolution of their own. Even if we are witnesses to the end of the book era, let us remember that it is not the books themselves that are important, but the message within.