You can call it a sign of the times, the end of an era or an indicator of things to come, but the latest news that REDgroup Retail has gone into voluntary administration has come as quite a surprise. REDgroup is the parent company of bookstore giants Borders and Angus & Robertson. Though my use of the word 'giants' might be a little too strong... if they really were that popular, then they probably wouldn't be bankrupt. I guess that makes them kind of like mini-disc players, Brashs or an X-Factor contestant.
But back to my point, this really isn't that much of a big deal, is it? We just don't need books anymore, that's why God invented Steve Jobs. And if you have ever been to a museum (I have been to many), you'll know that books replaced writing on walls with paint and stone many years ago. I can't help but feel it's time for a change.
Change is good. Change brings new light to a community blinded by what they know and have grown to understand. And in this case, that community is full of people who read WAY too much. Really, it was only a matter of time before this happened, and while it has happened a hell of a lot quicker than expected, it's here now and we need to be okay with that. It's just the end of books as we know them, it won't kill us. People are starting to realise that the online world can offer everything we need in a much more convenient way. It began with music and the rise of .mp3 downloads, and now books are the next in line to take a hit. And by A&R's and Borders' demise, the first punch to the face has been thrown.
It just makes sense really. With the recent addition of reading devices such as Kindles and the multi-tasking genius that is the iPad, reading couldn't be more simple and fun and it makes it a whole heap easier to take stuff with you. Imagine not having to lug all of those books around to your classes and instead have them open in a window behind your Facebook page on a tablet right in front of you. Timely AND advantageous! And to all of you parents, now, you no longer have to worry about your children getting a bad back from wearing heavy, book-loaded backpacks to and from school, so clearly they will make you a better parent.
Times like these come every so often and while it may feel strange and wrong to exchange classic books for the online market, it will get easier. Change is okay. Change is necessary. And I worry about the members of our society that can't deal with it. Perhaps you should take your anger, push it aside and ask real questions. Like why Angus or Robertson didn't open an online store when they started up in the 1880s. Didn't they know that by going online, they would have more time to read anyway? Silly old fogeys.
All in all, let's just embrace the beginning of a new world of reading. No longer will our time OR paper be wasted. It's a technological world we live in, and it's time to let go of the ancient and bring in the new. And what's better is that the new makes it a whole lot easier to multi-task, so I'm all for it. To those of you reading this blog on an iPad, good on you. Change windows for a second, find me on Facebook and send me a celebratory poke.