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Once Upon a Time

March 5, 2012

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Amanda. Every night before she went to sleep, her mum read her a story by her favourite author Enid Blyton.

The stories were magical but Amanda’s favourite part of this ritual was helping turn the pages of the ancient book, which once belonged to her mother when she was Amanda’s age. The book also had it’s own strange yet pleasant smell, one which Amanda had not come across before.

When story time was over and it was time for Amanda to go to sleep, she would grasp the hard cover with her tiny hands and hold the book close to her heart. The aged book was able to transport her back to a time when her mother was her age. She imagined her Nonna reading the same story to a wide-eyed child with curls the same as her own. Amanda would then fall asleep dreaming about a wonderful world of flying chairs and magical trees.

In a seemingly short period of fourteen years, it looks as though hard copy books are becoming a thing of the past. 2012 boasts technology that allows individuals to carry thousands of stories in one sleek and portable device.

Although the Kindle and iPad allow for effortless reading anywhere, John Naughton, writer for The Observer makes an excellent point when he refers to his hard copy of a book as: messy yet readable but most importantly, his.  “I own my copy of Nineteen Eighty-Four and can do with it what I wish. I can, for example, lend it to friends, family and students. I can, if I wish, tear out pages and send them to people in the post… I can read sobering or inflammatory passages from it at political demonstrations and so on.”

His statement definitely brings to attention some of the negatives apparent in devices such as the iPad and Kindle. Although through Amazon and ITunes individuals are able to purchase novels for prices starting at as little as 99cents, the stories are never completely tangible and as Naughton argues never truly belong to the purchaser.

This is further reinforced through Amazon’s ability to randomly remove books from individuals Kindle’s without any prior warning. Additionally, the only explanation given was by an Amazon spokesman who claimed that the book had been added to the Kindle store by a company that did not have the rights to it.

A 19-year-old Amanda sleeps with her iPad safely placed on her side table, after a long night of reading. Her Enid Blyton books however, are situated prominently on her bookshelf ready to read to her own daughter in years to come.




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