Sunday, March 27, 2016

Like Dogs and Diamonds, Make Books Best Friends

The naysayers and prophets of doom would have you believe that printed books are an endangered species, e-books are a fad that won’t last, newspapers and magazines will be merged with toilet paper manufacturers in hostile takeovers and reading itself is a dying pastime. Fortunately for lovers of the written word, I can confidently assert that this is a load of alarmist crock and there is no need for wordsmiths to kill themselves just yet.
Studies conducted by myself, with scant regard for methodology, statistics, analysis etcetera, thereby being entirely bereft of scientific merit have revealed that there are readers out there who wade through pages and pages while munching on crunchy apples or crunchier chips (depending on their waistline) and have every intention of doing so till the end of their days. That is the good news. Now for the bad.
            Contrary to what a certain gung ho commercial for an online shopping website would have you believe about the great multitudes out there who read from dawn to dusk, there are not quite as many readers out there as authors would like, to ensure the fulfilment of their wildest get rich fantasies. The sad truth is that people would rather shell out beaucoup bucks for fairness creams, pet Jacuzzis, fancy sports cars and boob jobs rather than a reasonably priced book or even one that is being sold at an indecently discounted rate.
            This can be amended using a few simple but insanely effective measures recommended by the brains behind the aforementioned unscientific research:
 Forbidden Fruit
Instead of begging their kids to pick up a book in the hope that they will actually learn something, parents would do well to expressly forbid reading under their roofs. And that goes double for textbooks. And as quickly as that, books will acquire the lustre of uninterrupted time with the TV/Ipad or Sapphic erotica and inspire similar passion with the end result that the youngster will never have enough of books for the rest of his or her natural life. Mission accomplished, thank you very much!
Embrace Cutting – Edge Technology
 It is time the print vs e – book factions put their differences behind them to make common cause against the enemy. By pooling resources they can hire the geniuses who come up with sexy gadgets to knock themselves out trying to invent XBooks that give the reader facials, botox treatments, help them burn fat and plug the hole in the ozone layer even as they immerse themselves in the plot. With a product like this Smartphones can suck it!  
Have Faith

Like dogs and diamonds, books are our best friends and are forever. Believe in the magic of stories and they will never die.

From my fortnightly column for The New Indian Express, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! which originally appeared here.  

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