I’m essentially an optimist. I see the positive side of most events and trends, and I look for signs of good things happening or to come. When there doesn’t seem to be anything good on the horizon, I settle for “This too shall pass.” But the last couple of months have put me in a rare “When will this end?” mood.
The weather, of course, is the culprit. The unending cold, sprinkled (or inundated) with snow or sleet or freezing rain, seems to have put everyone into grumpy gloominess. Even sunny days, with temperatures in the teens or single digits, bring just enough melting to create another hazard, black ice. And potholes. No one wants to go outside unless it is absolutely necessary. For retail or restaurant businesses, the persistent cold is keeping customers away. This time of year is always the slowest; this year, it’s almost a standstill. Some restaurants and shops are closing, unable to weather this storm. My shop will be all right, but I’m hoping for some pent-up demand once the temperature gets above freezing (possibly in the next week).
Still, I see signs of hope. There was a robin on my deck railing this morning! Today the temperature got into the high 20s, and there were a few families with children in the shop browsing. The parents said they just had to get the kids out of the house to do something. (But more snow tomorrow!) The longer term forecast says we may break that freezing mark for a few days next week.
The gods of Facebook must have seen my need for good news; it seems that this week there was an overabundance of posts with links to articles on encouraging trends for those of us supporting and being supported by the paperbound book. This winter is dreadful; the long range forecast is bright. The topics are ones I have written about frequently, so rather than elaborating on them, I am providing a few links for those who want to read the details:
Why digital natives prefer reading in print. (Washington Post, February 22)
Sorry, Ebooks, These 9 Studies Show Why Print is Better (Huffington Post, February 27)
The Rise of Independent Booksellers in The Time of Amazon (Buzzfeed, February 26)
The studies seem to be showing that electronic readers are hard on the eyes, lead to lower comprehension of the material, and interfere with sleep. As to the independent booksellers, I was comforted by the lead quote from John Green in the Buzzfeed post: “You cannot invent an algorithm that is as good at recommending books as a good bookseller.”
So here is my question: Would all the brilliant minds who have given us a reading tool that is less suited to the human brain than the method we already have, and who design algorithms that can’t imitate the perception of booksellers we already have please turn their attention to doing something about the weather?