Monday, April 22, 2013

Belly up? (or, what are you reading???)

Print media is dying quickly, or so it seems from my comfy couch, where two print publications I’ve worked for this year have gone belly up in the last month (Homeschool Horizons and The Canadian Jewish News)… and it’s all my fault.

I don’t buy magazines; never have.  When I can get them from the library, I do, and if I can’t, I try to find them online, and if I can’t, then I just don’t read them.

Homeschool Horizons was the exception, actually; when it started a couple of years ago, a local, family-based homeschooling publication, I decided to subscribe.  Another homeschooling magazine I’d subscribed to had recently switched to “an exciting all-digital format” (the genteel modern way of saying “went belly-up”), so I was sort of in the market and thought it was worth supporting.

Waah.

And again, it’s all my fault.  Because not only do I not buy periodicals, I don’t buy books.  Almost never.  The books I do buy, over the last few years, have overwhelmingly been ebooks, first for my Kobo and now for my Playbook (which I adore, by the way, thanks for asking!).  Even our libraries have been heading digital-ward, which is actually fantastic for me in terms of being able to access English-language reading materials even after we make aliyah.

Six days a week, the bulk of my reading is now digital and so, yes, I’m to blame for the “revolution” that is sinking print books and periodicals.  Yet, as a Jew, I am naturally hoping that books and magazines will continue to be available so I can have a couple around for Shabbos… I have a recurring nightmare that in 20 years, all we’ll have to read over Shabbos and yom tov will be the Mishpacha ladies’ section and The Jewish Press.

Yet, as a person who is a) chronically disorganized, b) overwhelmed by the amount of paper in our lives and c) poor (a and b are probably quite closely related), digital publications have given me a bit of an edge.  As long as I know where my device is, I can find my book – can find any book I want, actually, since they’re all neatly tucked away in there.  As for c), libraries are free, and there is also, to a certain extent, a freedom about the Internet which I cannot necessarily condone but of which I sometimes have been known to partake.  Except for certain obscure Jewish publications I may want to read, is usually easier and cheaper, these days, to find an ebook than a hard copy (with less waiting).

Beyond books, while digital media may clutter my hard drive, they don’t clutter my home, and for that, I’m exceedingly grateful.  Every time someone says, “I have the DVD somewhere; I can lend it to you,” I blanch, picturing this precious shiny fragile scratchable object being lost in our car or sofa or any one of a number of media-eating zones in our messy lives.

I wouldn’t say I’m an early adopter, but I am definitely a fan of digital media, to which I like to think I’ve taken like a fish to water. (Though my teenagers would probably beg to differ.  And by “beg,” I mean, of course, “laugh in my face.”)  So this post is my mea culpa and my apology to anyone caught up in the maelstrom that is traditional print media these days.  It was me; I did it.  It’s entirely my fault.

So what are YOU reading these days???

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