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David Smythe

Don't you ever worry that the internet will change absolutely everything, and not necessarily in a good way? I nuture such irrational fears. Books are a good example. It's not just that they're easier to get hold of; instant gratification might not be good for us, but at least the net result is that we get to hold in our hands a well-designed, pungent and evocative object that we can form a relationship with, eventually forgetting that we acquired it quickly, and through the web. Won't the eventual rise of an e-book device mean books become a plug-in-and-download affair, with our entire library in a hard drive - much the same way as music is going now? The attractions are irrefutable, just like picking the best bits out of the newspaper online without having to drag my bum into the newsagents and having to spend money and talk to someone. The strange thing is that I love books and newspapers (the objects that is, not just the content), yet I'm inexorably drawn to the convenience and environmentally friendly nature of web-distribution. Perhaps one day the web-bubble will burst and we'll all see the internet as a take-it-or-leave-it 'bolt on' to more meaningful and longlasting media. Or perhaps we'll all end up with a leviathan data pipe pumping words, sound and images into our minds every second of every year. Christ, I'm scared.

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