Opinion: Kindle v. paper, will digital media prevail?

Zach Lutz

This was initially written on a paper towel. Needless to say, it has been typed, edited, and perhaps changed entirely since the preliminary state. However, I have seized the opportunity to gather my thoughts in one spontaneous moment and scribble them down. Maybe you’re glad for that, maybe you’re indifferent, or maybe you think taking this step and actually publishing this, as an article, is kitschy or cliché. But it is specifically this inclination, and the formation of words out through my hand that brought me here in the first place.

This newspaper is only dead if you think it is dead, and if you’re reading this online, your frame of reference has already skewed beyond redemption. Print will always and forever survive through this tremendously progressive digital age, and here is why: there will always be people, be it an inherent preference or an acquired respect for creativity, who long to hold something magnanimous in the meat of their own hands in its entirety.

This newspaper is complete in its conception and in its fruition. And it exists in your hands for you to facilitate in any situation, regardless of wireless connectivity or service area, the same way a book is a simple, convenient and functional way to enjoy a piece of literature. The only requirement is a beam of light, or in a more complex explanation, the reflection of light off the page of the book to provide you with the means for reading.

Amazon’s Kindle, the widely popular electronic reading device, has been clawing its way across the country in a commercial rampage since 2007. Still, I have yet to come into contact with the physical product or anyone who owns a Kindle, but I remain a strong advocate against such a thing. There are a multitude of factors that would be affected by an upheaval in the way we read text: libraries are the first that come to mind, the long and ominous dissension of our public facilities coming full force to a screeching halt. There’s also copyright laws to consider and problems with editing, the inability to annotate and highlight with your own hands and other minor things. This may sound like a generalization, or at least some large exaggeration, but the tools for regression seem to be coming into full view.

I usually hesitate to be so boldly negative about the introduction of new technology; I was all right when they made a camera a standard feature on cell phones. I was still all right when watching commercials became unnecessary after a widespread epidemic of DVR. And I survived the digital television transition with only a few minor irrelevant side effects. But those things don’t bother me nearly as much as the Kindle. I don’t have to worry about charging a novel, spilling water on it (in moderation), or leaving it in a hot car. And so, in running out of paper towel space, I’d ask you to pick up something as a piece of writing material, possibly something unconventional, and scratch out your thoughts.

Zachary Lutz is a sophomore business major and columnist for the Summer Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].