Paper Books Are Dying

For a great number of years, people have uttered comments about how paper books are dying. The introduction of the Kindle and increase in individual social media consumption has definitely added to this persuasive belief.

Unfortunately, spending much of my time in bookshops has allowed for this argument to seep into my belief-system also.

The calmer atmosphere prompted by the reduced number of fellow book lovers produces a deeper, underlying sadness that almost always trumps the mild pleasure of being able to browse a bookshop in peace.

Every book lover ultimately assigns themselves to a lonely space mission. Distant from a world known by others. Deep into an abyss of limitless unknown.

But this life-long adventure comes paired with an inevitable yearning for companionship.

The death of paper books. Termination of space travel. These statements are far too similar.

However, as I write this, I find myself positively reflecting on an incredible sight I witnessed many times on my travels in and around Japan.

Men and women, stood shoulder-to-shoulder, turning physical page after page, as they marvelled at books. Every bookshop I visited was packed. My world has been made anew. Seeing my fellow book lovers, not hiding in the labelled hipster approach to learning, but standing proudly in the mainstream was a delightful and unforgettable experience.

Maybe, the truth is too much to bear. Might this simply be a temporary distraction from the distant but ever-approaching darkness? The journey for so many of us may soon be coming to an end.

But for now, I’d happily be bewildered by the discovery… that my space rocket has been refuelled.

This article was originally sent to everyone who receives the fortnightly letters of The War Room. To receive early articles, subscribe here.

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