Are books and CDs soon to be a thing of the past?

15 March 2012

Written by: Cass Savellis

The increase in the dominance of technology means that many people are discarding their once treasured books and CDs. Well, most people, but not myself. This is an idea that has never crossed my mind.

Technology has become dominant in our everyday lives – we are constantly checking social media, news is readily available via the Internet and it’s an essential tool for studying and work. But does this mean books and CDs should be forgotten altogether?

How ordinary would the world be with every aspect of our life only available by computer or iPad? And what if the device crashes; say while you’re on a four-hour train ride or just about to print that last minute Uni assignment? Our ever-increasing dependence on technology means that access to things that are usually readily available, are now left to computers.

I’m all for convenience, but I don’t believe it’s beneficial relying solely on technology. I cannot fathom the amount of times I’ve been tempted to throw my laptop out the window because of the Internet not working or a program freezing. Then I remember the amount it’s worth, and decide to just yell abusive words at it instead. It’s less costly that way (although I’m sure my housemates think I’m bordering on crazy).

Books would never do this to you. There’s a certain feeling they bring that’s irreplaceable. Personalising your novel with a bookmark of your choice, getting excited as the space towards the back cover decreases and feeling accomplished as you flick to that last page. After being glued to screens most of the day because of work or study commitments, relaxing with your favourite magazine or book offers a chance to unwind and escape from the fast paced world of the Internet.

And who can go past those great bookstore finds? Even if you’re not looking for anything in particular, there’s always something to grab your attention. The 20 most beautiful bookstores in the world describes that exact feeling, providing some merit as to why books, and where they are housed, hold cultural significance that should not be forgotten.

Then there are CDs. I can’t get past the feeling of physically holding that new CD or book in your hand and adding it to the collection on your shelf, seeing your assortment and taste change as you grow.

When you purchase a CD from a live gig or festival, you have a concrete reminder of the time, place and people you got to experience the band with. Every time you pick up that album, you will be taken back to that place and re-experience those memories. Music isn’t just about having the songs available to listen to, but having the memorabilia of your favourite bands.

We’ve witnessed this with the rebirth of vinyls. Once only heard of in stories from our parents and grandparents, they are now being released by most artists. I think they serve a multipurpose aspect for music lovers, not only appreciated for the music but collected for the album artwork.

There’s just no competing with that genuine element. Amongst my collection are CDs, vinyls, t-shirts, gig tickets and posters from magazines. These are the aspects that make up your personality and describe who you are, everyone’s collection is unique and tells a different story.

I bet we’ve all had many lazy days going through those old CDs from our teenage years (come on, I know everyone owned a copy of the Spice Girls at one point) and trying to pretend that it wasn’t your collection.

Scrolling through iPod playlists just don’t provide the same nostalgia. It allows you to listen, but does not provide an individual experience. In CDs start to lose their shine, Matt Smith states that, ‘music becomes much more disposable and we’re now met with people who won’t have that connection to music’.

With the takeover of iPods and iPads, we have become Apple’s walking advertisements, virtually being clones of one another, all listening to music and reading literature in the exact same way. Smith reinforces this point, ‘playlists are one thing but they take nowhere near as much attention and care to assemble as the now lost art of the humble “mix tape”’. These devices don’t allow any showcase of personality or creativeness.

To have and hold CDs or books means that they can never be erased. No matter what issues arise with your computer, iPod, iPad or any other technological product, your books and CDs will still be perfectly intact. They will be there to comfort you when you’re on the verge of a technology-induced meltdown!

While I acknowledge all the great things technology has allowed us to do, I still hope the real deal lasts and that books and CDs will never be too outdated to be valued.

Cass Savellis is a final year Bachelor of Journalism student and part of the upstart editorial team. She writes a blog and can be found on Twitter @csavellis.