“Welcome visitors to the most modern library in the country. We call it the Electro-Physical Library because we want it known that it deals in every type of book available today, be it a hard-covered, physical collection of pages that we have traditionally known as a book, to electronic writings that have exploded over the past few years.”
“I sweep my arm over this area, the one that most of you have been aware of throughout your lives, even some of you younger people. This is the Physical Library, the hard-copy version of books that will survive despite the ease of use of all the other electronic media.”
“You may ask why I believe it will continue to exist? Quite simply, it will always be a human desire to hold something in your hands, to feel its weight, turn its pages, and see it resting on your nightstand, calling for you to pick it up. Even the smell is a comforting sensation, and smell is one of the most effective senses that we humans have, much more than we are usually aware of. Just as the slightest smell can trigger a reaction, or a transport back to an event somewhere way back in your history, the smell of old pages is one that your nose never forgets and welcomes.”
“And with this sense of smell, book covers enact the sense that we are commonly aware of every single second of our waking lives, the sense of sight. Unless we are asleep and our sense of smell is the predominant gatherer of information for our minds, every minute photon of energy that enters our eyes has a lasting presence in our thoughts and reactions, and greatly rests in our memories as well.”
“Seeing a book resting on a table almost begs you to pick it up, or at the very least, thumb through it. Many self-publishers of their own books are realizing how important it is to create the best cover design for their books, how vitally important it is to draw someone’s attention, to pull them into the cover and in turn into the pages within. There is no equal to the power a lying book has to entice you after you pass it several times, each time building the tension and compulsion to pick it up and begin reading, at least the cover’s information.”
The speaker allowed his words to float through the minds of his audience, hoping that his words were as evocative as he knew the books were. He looked over the crowd and generally counted the heads that were nodding in agreement and those that were anticipating his continued introduction to the library. He waited until he began seeing his viewers glancing around the library, doing their own search, and promptly began again.
“The electronic section of the library is expanding rapidly. You may wonder why, since it doesn’t take much space for an electronic file to be stored. While this is true, it is the human interface that requires the most space.” He swept his arm over the remaining section of the library. “we have many forms of electronic media available for everyone’s use.”
“Back in the days when hard-covered books were the business of libraries, there were always support areas of the library as well. This included large format books, newspapers, microfiche libraries and readers, and eventually, computers. The computers began as simple readers that enabled you to find the books that existed inside a particular library, or in branch libraries around your city or region, and then access to libraries across a state or country.”
“This developed into computers that allowed internet access, not necessarily to the function of libraries, but initially to promote knowledge, and expanded to include learning from any area of the world through the use of the internet.”
“In the same spreading of methods to finding knowledge, or even for entertainment and self-building, this library has expanded into several methods of passing information from one person to another, whether they are from next door, the next state, or from somewhere else in the world.”
“The same computers sitting around this area, connected to virtually every other computer in the world, builds everyone through the interconnectivity of peoples as well as their ideas and innermost thoughts. As you notice if you have been here, even if it has been very recently, the banks of computers have multiplied several times.”
“Taking up more space than any other aspect of the electronic media, is the stacks pre-printed books. These are kept in this form for those who want the electronic convenience of reading, the adaptability of being able to increase the size of the font, or even the color or the printing in some cases. As with the printed paper books, the visual aspect of the covers is important as an attraction to the inner realm of the pages. The binding, although not functional in this case, has become more important as they tend to be stacked side by side in the shelves, exposing this aspect of the plastic cases. These copies are usually in the form of a disk that can be inserted into any computer and manipulated to the extent of comfort required by any individual reader.”
“By the way, this area is also further divided between those which need to be returned to the library, and those that can be purchased. As anyone familiar with the electronic media knows, the price of these had become increasingly affordable due to the lower overhead of producing them. This is also very true of the paper and bound books, but to a lesser extent due to the same overhead of production. The drop in prices of these has also dramatically dropped, while allowing more authors to write as an occupation rather than as a sideline to a conventional occupation.”
“And finally, the smallest physically, but by no means the smallest literarily, is the purely electronic section of the library. This includes both media viewed within the library, whether you stop in during a lunch break, or while waiting for a taxi, as well as the thousands upon thousands of titles available for purchase, usually at a price so low several are usually grabbed up at once.”
“These are usually in the form of small flash files that you can plug into any kind of computer, reader, and now, telephones as well. With the massive amount of data that can be stored in the tiniest of chips, several titles can be combined into a single media, or you can choose to read a book at a time in the more somewhat traditional method.”
“Just to fill out that area a little, and to help the library to afford all the physical aspects of having a building with its constant need for upkeep and maintenance, we also sell several of what we call the ‘page readers’, such as the kindles and other varieties of computers strictly for their use in reading various texts. Further supplementing this is also the ability to print out any electronic form of book, whether it be a hard copy book, or one of the electronic forms. This can be done in a very short time. We then send the appropriate residuals to the author and publishers in a single payment.”
“I must caution you all of one danger of the electronic media.” He said loudly as the crowd became louder as they recognized that his speech was ending, “There is an increased possibility of people running headlong into each other as they read while walking.” He paused as the laughter echoed his somewhat ironic joke. “This by the way, is my favorite hobby; walking out in the sunshine, enjoying the sun from the outside, and the warmth of knowledge inside, by reading as I walk. So please, watch for me, and I will watch for you also.” He ended to a mix of laughter and clapping.
He stepped down from the podium almost sweating. He had never spoken to such a large crowd before, and he was happy for his success, but entirely happy that it was over as well. He headed straight for the park as soon as the questions and answers were finished. He had several books in mind that had just come in from new indie authors, and each moment he delayed his reading of them increased his anticipation.