Modern technology and books go together

Letter writer says there is room for both in the world.

Dear Editor

I’d like to respond to your editorial “Books will always have their Place” (13 March), in which you make some very valid points.

Firstly the matter of electronic meetings. I fully agree with you that electronic communication at meetings takes away the immediacy of ‘being in the room’, and where local meetings are concerned (within, say, our School District), I would personally not want to see electronic attendance adopted at the expense of all else.

However, there are instances where electronic attendance can be both desirable and beneficial. As you are aware, a number of our Partners in the School District have difficulty attending, for example, our Education Committee meetings. This is a particular problem for some Partners in the Lillooet area and beyond, where their work commitments prevent them attending a 4.30 meeting. It also has to be said, in fairness, that from time to time Councillors, School Trustees, and others, have commitments outside of the district which prevent their attendance, and in instances such as this the facility of electronic attendance enables them to fill all of their roles. Proper tele-conferencing can, I believe, increase attendance at meetings and, to a degree, enhance the democratic process, which is the reason I support the Education Committee’s decision to explore with Partners their reaction or desire to participate in meetings in that manner. We need to remember, too, that we have witnessed successful ‘tele-conferencing’ in our own homes for years: many major television news interviews are carried on in that manner, and are none the worse for it.

Secondly, like you, I have a fondness for physical books: I must do, since I produce them, work with and around them seven days a week, and have a house overflowing with them. I, too, resisted eBooks for some time, chiefly because having to spend many hours a week reading from a computer screen made me feel that enough could be enough for one day! Times and views change, however, and I now use a Kindle on a daily basis. For the benefit of your readers, perhaps I could outline what I see as some of the major benefits provided by eBooks and eBook readers:

– Cost Savings: Anyone who buys books cannot have failed to notice the ever increasing cost of purchasing them. The average new hardback novel now costs in the $30–$40 range; the average paperback $15–20. Most will be read once, many consigned to second-hand/thrift stores quite quickly. An eBook of the same new novel can generally be purchased at a lesser cost than the paperback, and thousands of eTexts are available free from major online retailers such as amazon.com, or through literary projects such as Project Gutenberg. EBooks are a means for our public and school libraries to provide books they otherwise cannot afford.

– Immediacy: I’m sure I’m not the only one who possesses the gift of impatience: if I come across a review or mention of a book that looks interesting, I generally want to get hold of it quickly. Living in Ashcroft my options for purchasing that book are (a) drive to Kamloops, which makes purchasing the book a pretty expensive exercise, or (b) order it online, which means a wait of a week to ten days for delivery. With an eBook, I have it available to read within a minute of pressing the ‘download’ button on a computer.

– Availability: Books go out of print, and it can become an expensive exercise to purchase anything other than a former best-seller on the second-hand market. Once an eBook is created, there is no reason why it cannot be available indefinitely, and generally at a reduced cost over time.

– Portability: No longer do I need to pack a suitcase full of heavy books when I go on holiday. My Kindle tells me that I currently have 1,046 books available to me, with space for many more. It means that I can read what I want, when I want, whether that’s sitting at home, waiting in a doctor’s waiting room, over a quiet cup of coffee in Starbucks, wherever. It has also resulted in my using a lot more ‘downtime’ for reading, and I consider that a benefit.

– Legibility: My ageing eyes have difficulty coping these days with the minute print often encountered in traditional books. With an eBook that’s no longer a problem, since I can vary the font size to suit needs and lighting conditions. This, of course, is also a benefit to those readers who need ‘large print’ books, but are limited by choice and availability: now any book can be ‘large print’ simply by pressing a button or two.

I will end here with the statement that my love for the traditional book will not change, but my reading experience will be enhanced by the eBook. If eBooks bring reading to more people, more easily and at lesser cost, then they can be nothing but good. And, at the end of the day, we all surely want more people to read and literacy to develop and grow.

Christopher Roden

Chair, Education Committee

S.D. 74 (Gold Trail)

Just Posted

Ashcroft hospital emergency closed sign, 2016. Photo credit: Barbara Roden
Ashcroft Hospital emergency department closed this weekend

Closure due to unexpected limited physician availabiliy, says Interior Health

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Heidi Roy of the Cariboo Jade Shop in Cache Creek with the 3,000 jade boulder, which is now on secure display inside the shop. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Massive jade boulder returns to Cache Creek store six months after daring heist

The 3,000-pound boulder was stolen on Dec. 19, 2020 and found abandoned in the bush a week later

Dr. Albert de Villiers, chief medical health officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
Child sex crimes charges against Interior’s top doc won’t impact pandemic response: Dix

Dr. Albert de Villiers is charged with sexual assault and sexual interference

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read