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Too many books?

June 25, 2009
Gutenberg, Public Domain image from Wikipedia

Gutenberg, Public Domain image from Wikipedia

No, this is not one of those “too many books too little time” posts. This is way more serious! This is about something I read in the July issue of goodreading (why I read this magazine is beyond me really, but I do). What I read was this, from one Ken Duncan who is apparently an Australian panoramic landscape photographer:

Unfortunately, for our generation, books are a dime a dozen [but] in the old days books used to be something very special, where you had artists create them.

It’s unfortunate that books are commonly available? How awfully elitist this sounds. I know where he is coming from – after all it’s in an article on limited edition books – but he chose an unfortunate way to make his point. Beautiful books are lovely to have and to hold but in the end what really counts is that as many people as possible can access them. Gutenberg and Caxton must be rolling in their graves!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 26, 2009 18:30

    This reminds me of Peter Cundall’s story about waiting and waiting to be old enough to join the local library, and beating a path to the door on his birthday – only to be told to go home and clean himself up before being allowed to touch the books. Poor little soul from a poverty stricken background and the librarian couldn’t see her way clear to bringing him inside and whisking him off to some soap and water if that’s what was needed.
    I do love beautiful books, and I treasure my collection of first editions, but I think that the Penguin paperback that enabled mass reading was the best invention of the 20th century.

  2. whisperinggums permalink*
    June 26, 2009 19:21

    Oh, poor Peter. I didn’t know that though I know of course that he is a keen reader. Some librarians can get their focus wrong eh? I don’t collect specific books like you but I do like to hold a beautiful book. However, availability at a good price is the critical thing. One day I’d like to read the story of Alan Lane (I think that’s the Penguin man’s name isn’t it?).

    Oh, and enjoy your holidays…

  3. Louise permalink
    July 10, 2009 22:43

    Why do you have reservations about good reading? I always really enjoy it.

  4. whisperinggums permalink*
    July 10, 2009 22:56

    It’ enjoyable but probably a little too focused on genre reading for me. The new editor is sweet but a bit more lightweight I feel than the previous ones. Her editorials tend to make me cringe a bit. Journals like ABR are a bit too intense and narrowly focused for what I want. I’d like something like Limelight magazine for reading – a little meatier but still fairly generalist so I can keep up with the wider picture. Does that make sense?

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