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Physical World, Digital Information

It’s been books. Now it’s pianos.

The digital world is overtaking what was once a piece of necessary furniture in every home, the piano. In an age when electronic keyboards can be had for a few hundred dollars, and even imported pianos cost only a few thousand dollars, the old heirloom family piano is being consigned to the junk heap.

According to an article in The New York Times, pianos are the new casualty of an era of obsolescence in the face of cheaper alternatives.

So it’s not just old-fashioned, paper-and-cardboard books that are being tossed out.

I have to admit that even I, who bought my piano with hard-earned money during summer breaks in college, have thought about replacing it with something smaller, to free up much-needed space in my home. But, like many a book lover, I am hesitant to get rid of my big piece of furniture because it has memories for me.

Even though it’s expensive to tune, falls prey to humidity and doesn’t have all that great a sound, compared even to a moderately priced digital keyboard.

I sound like one of those out-of-date book lovers who confuses the content of the book with the delivery system. Of course, we like physical things. This is a flesh-and-blood world. We don’t live in a digital universe; this is not The Matrix.

And I just published my new novel as an e-book so I’m in tune with the new world of publishing (even if part of me still sort of wants a physical copy of my work).

But the disposal of pianos, and the junking of the example of the craftsmanship that went into that musical instrument, is a little sad. Music will still be made, and people will still learn to play a keyboard. But I have to tell myself that the instrument is not the music. Like the content in a book: it’s the writing, not the page, that matters.

But you know that. Especially if you’ve been building a platform to spread your message and attract readers. They’re finding you online. And that should be music to your ears.

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One Response to “Physical World, Digital Information”

  1. Anonymous August 29, 2012 at 12:54 am #

    Pianos as a casualty? That makes my heart sad! But I’ll admit that with my recent move and downsizing living space, I did cull my book collection (though it was hard to part with my beloved books). It did help to know that many of these books are available digitally now, saving space and dusting on my shelves.

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