The Guardian has given a voice to an old-fashioned bookbinder, Colin Hill Urbina, who quite reasonably spends no time worrying about ereaders:
This may come as a shock to the people I meet at parties and relatives I rarely see, but as a professional bookbinder, I don’t devote a lot of thought to e-readers. Frankly, I wish everyone would stop asking me about them. No, I don’t own one. No, nobody has ever wanted me to make one for them.
It would be pretty great, too, if people would stop telling me that what I do is “a dying art”. I mean, I’m still doing it, and I’m pretty young. So just like I wasn’t concerned when e-readers first started to appear, I’m not worried that Amazon’s latest Kindle model mimics the feel of a book. That just reinforces the idea that what I do endures.
While Urbina comes across as a luddite, thus making it easy to point a finger and guffaw, he does have a point.
He’s not like the buggy whip maker who is unconcerned by the rise of cars; instead,Urbina’s profession was supplanted by modern book production decades ago, if not further back.
Most paper books are produced in factories these days, not by bookbinders like Urbina or Arion Press in San Francisco, and that means that Urbina is to the book industry what a buggy whip maker is to the transportation industry: a small manufacturer serving a niche market.
For Urbina to worry about the Kindle would be like a buggy whip maker to worry about Tesla; the buggy whip maker is not serving the same market as Tesla, so why would it give them any thought?
The same is true for Urbina, and the Kindle.
image by wezlo