In the Sept/Oct 2006 issue of Bookmarks, I discussed my interest in electronic books and predicted that they would become increasingly popular. If I could put thousands of songs on my iPod, why not thousands of books? To no surprise, a number of readers sounded a rallying cry for good old-fashioned paper.
Then this morning I was reading On Truth by Harry G. Frankfurt, an essay that runs 101 pages in a small hardbound book. If his previous essay On Bullshit (2005) hadn't become a minor phenomenon, I might have expected a work like On Truth to be distributed on the Internet. Yet as I read a few pages, without even considering my previous arguments, I thought, "How wonderful that this is in print--and that I have it in book form."
Did I just contradict myself?
The connection between the internal experience of art and the physical nature by which we take in that experience intrigues me, and not just because I love books. With music, what remains fun about albums of vinyl records is their packaging: you have something colorful and intricately designed to hold and look at as you listen to the music. You're using more of your senses, which work together to create a more lasting impression of the experience. THE smaller CD cases, so often plain and colorless, remove some of that fun and feeling of connection to the artist and music, and now digital music has eliminated the packaging altogether. And I find that my connection to my music has...