I think PRINT BOOKS have an important role to play, even as technology changes. Print books are actually a class and economic issue, because of the secondary, used and donated book market that will disappear eventually. Perhaps it’s my social worker perspective, but I’m sensitive to the divide between the haves and have-nots, and the e-reader issue points this up.
How many older people can or will make the switch? How about the poor, the homeless, those in jail? Books are an important escape and route to education for working-class and poor folks, and libraries historically have been great equalizers and hangouts for a cross section of every community.
On Maui, our Borders store in Kahului functioned as a community center, a place where kids collected to read, real estate agents met their clients, and everyone gathered for poetry readings and ukulele jams.
The loss of Borders hit our island hard, and it hasn’t been replaced. Barnes & Noble, way over in Lahaina and much smaller, is all we have left. We all need to support them, or we’ll have nothing at all, and with the cuts to libraries, I worry we’ll lose access to those books too.
In Hawaii, because of our isolation, it’s a class issue. I believe passionately that everyone should have access to books—not just those who can afford and will use an e-reader.
For us authors, it’s a difficult call. I’m trying to play the whole field in the interests of the most access for readers.
What do you think of the future of books, and access to them?