During the years that Amazon has been operating I have watched the prices of second hand books drop in value, but recently I have noticed that their
prices are increasing steadily. Less commercial works, as they become rarer are steadily rising in price.
Just recently I hade to pay $25 for a small book by TS Eliot that was second hand. In fact, I have gone on quite a book buying spree to make sure I
have everything by this poet as traditional hard copies. I would suggest that if you have interests in the less commercial literature or any first
print enthusiasm then now is the time to be buying as it looks likely that prices will continue to rise and certain volumes become very scarce as hard
Obviously, the digital age is having a revolutionary affect on the way we read; the market, popularity, access, survival are the beginning of a list
of influence on literature by digital technology. I have noticed of late many news articles asking the question whether or not we might be entering a
new Dark Age. These articles suggest digital technology, the gradual control of free speech (once there are restrictions it can no longer be called
free speech), and changing technological advancement might be culprits. May I suggest that there is a growing tendency to Inquisition like purges via
media character assassinations, such as that we have seen with the former IMF Chief Dominique Strauss Kahn and so many others. A further example might
be that of the Child Abuse scandals which I am only to conscious of being used politically as weaponry. Some interesting parallels I think can be
drawn from a comparison to Dark Age and medieval behaviours.
I ask myself does this technological revolution mean a forgetting of the past as obsolete? As books become less available as hard copies (with all the
thousands of years of maintenance and reprint to preserve memory) will they all make it to the server and be constantly updated into new formats as
our digital technology changes? Is it possible that we might lose (dare I say even deliberately by certain texts being wiped from our collective
memory) some of our best literature during the development of the digital age? Can we be so sure that all these works will still be accessible in say
three hundred years time when the algorithms and programs of today will be ancient by comparison?
For example the small book of essays by TS Eliot entitled "For Lancelot Andrewes" has only one used copy for sale on Amazon UK now; I bought the
other. To buy it new is $100. There appears to be no online version of this book. Already it is very under threat of extinction as being readily
afforded by the public unless they will go to great lengths to access it or buy it at great cost. I hope that this example goes some way as evidence
as a demonstration of the growing scarcity of hard copies of less commercial literature and the trend to rising prices for both second hand and new
hard copies; the traditional book.
Personally, being one who has had much reading experience of hard copy books, I find it very uncomfortable and less rewarding reading digitally than I
do traditional reading. I wonder whether the younger people who have grown up with the digital texts as the norm will not have to wrestle with this
choice and be natural digital readers? I enjoy reading online, but when it comes to serious long reading sessions I still find the hard copy to be my
first choice and remain an avid purchaser of hard copy literature.
Long live the book, from the trees (who also prompted us to language, so Robert Graves suggests in his "White Goddess" book among other things which
examines the Celtic "Ogham" Tree Alphabet as an original poetic language).
edit on 22-2-2015 by lonesomerimbaud because: correction of errors.