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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Aug 26, 2011

I am a fan of electronic gizmos, mainly because of their gee-whiz factor. I see a new device that usually requires batteries for it to operate and I am hooked.

From transistor radios when I was a teenager to electronic calculators in the ’70s and now GPS devices today, I find new technology amazing.

Actually, not so recent technology such as e-mail still amazes me. I keep in touch with anyone whether they are in Australia or across the road with messages and photos, anytime, anywhere.

I did a little research and just got my first new device that is going to make more big changes in day-to-day living. I got an e-reader.

This coat pocket-sized device is going to change the publishing world. I am sure it already has.

We are leaving the world of paper publishing as we know it behind. Books, magazines and (gasp) newspapers will be transformed.

There will still be a need for books, magazines and newspapers, only the delivery system will be changing. The need for paper and printing presses will be greatly reduced.

I already receive several magazines in their digital form and the problem was I needed a computer to read them. I can not get used to the idea of taking a computer to bed for some end-of-the-day reading.

With my e-reader, I can move the files of any of my magazines from my computer to my reader and I have them available for reading anywhere (as long as the battery is charged).

Oh great, another device that requires me to keep a charger close by. I will have to keep it next to my charger for my cell phone, camera and what else. It is another item to pack when I am going to be gone overnight.

The advantages far outweigh the inconvenience of keeping a battery charged.

As a teenager, and even through the ’80s, one of my favorite places was a record store. When was the last time you even saw a record store, let alone be in one?

Today, I still enjoy browsing a well-stocked bookstore and if it has a big selection of the current magazines, then all the better. I better get my looks at a book store in while I can because they are going the way of the record shop.

This e-reader lets me browse for books, newspapers and magazines. If I find one I like, I can even purchase it if I am close to a wireless connection and read it seconds later.

Then there are the books in the public domain that can be had for just downloading. What else will they come up with?

I have to confess I will miss feeling the sensation of the printed page and actually being able to turn the page instead of swiping the screen.

However, there are people who today prefer listening to their music recorded on vinyl and I am sure there will be paper versions of popular reading material; it just will not be as easy to find.

I am not terribly concerned about the change coming to the publishing world. This is a step forward with many more advantages than disadvantages. The old ways of doing things will be traded in for the new ways and we will make the needed adjustments.

Whether you are sitting in a coffee house with your favorite blend in a major city or in corn and soybean country in a comfortable chair, everyone will have the same access to their chosen reading.

One thing will not change. The world of publishing will still depend on a writer and fortunately for the writers of the world, lots of readers. That is, readers of the human variety. Batteries not included.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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