Sunday, 11 November 2012

Are books becoming Kindle-ing for the fire?

I was waiting to go into an audition on Friday leafing through pages of a printed out script praying that one last peruse would make the lines go in.  A fellow auditionee came in; we made the usual pleasantries “Hiya,” “What time are you in?” “Weren’t the tubes a nightmare...” and went back to our scripts. 

There were three major differences between me and my fellow auditonee; 1) He was a boy 2) He was at least a decade younger than me and 3) His script was on an iPad.  As I shuffled paper, he scrolled, I thumbed pages and he touch-screened.

Now I know this isn’t unheard of; up-to-date media is compulsory for us all nowadays even Granny Dani has succumbed to an iPhone and will happily list the benefits, but this is the first time I have seen a lack of paper in a ramshackle audition room.  I have always secretly thought that the acting profession was still slightly in the dark ages but maybe that’s just me?
I have an undisclosed love of books, scripts and all things paper.  My bookshelves are bursting and I dream of one day having a library with floor to ceiling books, a classic green banker’s lamp and perhaps even a ladder so I can whoosh about like Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, but I digress....
"There must be more than this cyber liiiiiiiiife.."

I appreciate the advantages of iPads and Kindles and although I won’t march to Parliament opposing goggle-eyed screen gazing, I won’t get one myself.  I have an on-going spat with my brother-in-law who has embraced his Kindle and the variety it provides whilst I constantly disparage it by buying him endless paperbacks for his birthday!  Our whole lives are online; we work online, bank online, watch TV and can even find our soul-mate so I feel loathed to read books from a screen too. 

My A-Level English tutor taught me to appreciate the old fashioned book showing me there is nothing better than the tangible quality of being able to hold something that is definite and real.  I wish I hadn’t sniggered along with everybody else as he grabbed a nearby tome, fanned its pages and inhaled deeply exclaiming “Oh yummy yummy books,” because Mr Jones, you may find me doing something similar now!
There could be a balancing act between the two

I am totally aware of my hypocrisy as I write this via an online blog and as an aspiring writer I might, too, one day be swayed by self-publishing and eBooks.  EBooks are increasingly becoming the way to get your writing “in print” and has opened up a whole new world of freedom where a writer is not controlled by an editor.  In August of this year Amazon announced that eBook sales surpassed regular hardbacks and paperbacks for the first time in Britain; an expected and realistic statistic but it makes me shudder. 
 I mourn that my un-born children may not have a library of encyclopedias for homework or a stack of books for bedtime stories; I could retain prehistoric paperbacks at home but then they’d be the bullied kids who didn’t have the latest gadget.
Yes I am old-fashioned; my room is full of printed out audition scenes, old magazines and bank statements but I’d go around writing with a quill if I could.  I may turn out to be the Mum whose kids have to have secret Kindle session beneath their duvets or I may download my next audition script and “get down”, sorry, “scroll” down like all the cool kids .

I shall leave the final word to a proper published author, Jilly Cooper, who when asked if she’d ever buy a Kindle said, “you can’t drop it in the bath and the idea of going on holiday with 1,000 books is so depressing, I mean, you wouldn’t have time to get off with anyone would you?”

‘Nuff said!

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