March 24, 2013
The Virginia Festival of the Book wrapped up Sunday after a week of events to celebrate literature. Book lovers and authors alike think about how to define 'book' with technology changing everything.
George Pisano is a University of Virginia law student and has always loved reading. Still young, you might expect him to be scrolling through twitter or finishing a good read on his iPad.
"My mother has a Kindle, but ironically, I really appreciate holding a book in your hand and reading that way," says Pisano, an employee at the New Dominion Bookshop on the Downtown Mall.
Working at the shop for several years now, he says he hasn't seen much of a difference in sales or indication that local book stores or even books themselves are dying in Charlottesville. And the Virginia Festival of the Book reinforced that this week.
"The word is still at the center but how we bring it to you opens multiple possibilities. And I don't think one will replace the other, I don't think there's a conflict," said Katherine McNamara, a publisher for Artist's Proof Editions.
On Sunday, McNamara presented a poem she published. "Caveboy" is available on iTunes, and that's something literature lovers may have never seen coming years ago.
"I think we will continue to have long blocks of text because socially and intellectually we need those but we're starting to do something different," said David Hutto, who writes a literary blog called "Write or Take a Nap."
He says the question isn't about whether books will survive the digital revolution or not, but instead how text is presented -- whether it's bound or on a screen. He says the evolution of text started all the way back with Aristotle, to medieval times to printed books to the Kindle.
In a bigger city, it might be hard to find that classic bookstore, but in Charlottesville, people still enjoy a physical book and a store to go back to.
"We have a lot of loyal customers who appreciate being able to hold a book in your hand, and they keep coming back and giving us their business and we appreciate that," Pisano said.