That’s the take from this Toronto Star article: Mixed feelings about the loss of a bookstore at Ryerson University and the sequestering of its books, by the students… though not by the article’s author.

“Poor books. Snubbed yet again, this time by a university, an institution of learning.”

The article describes the closure of one campus bookstore, causing confusion by students who walked into the building to find it being repurposed as classroom and office space.  Some of the books were moved to the other campus bookstore; the remainder were put into a storage room, and some will be returned to the publishers.

Ryerson’s students are mixed about the use of ebooks and web-based services like Amazon.  The author, though low-key in her wording, clearly sides with the printed book crowd and regrets the loss of the bookstore and the books within.  Of the many students with whom she could have discussed the issue, she chose a print-book lover:

Given the choice between a thick, hardcover text and a Kindle, Owens would choose the book. Better for the eyes, better to highlight with. He said it’s common for students to forgo texts and download course material onto their iPads and laptops, but that’s not for him.

And finally, a clumsy potshot at technology:

Pondering students of the future, Owens sees a postanalog world: “They’ll be plugging things into their brains and projecting images onto the inside of their eyes. We’ll be sitting there on our iPads going, ‘What the hell is that?’ ”

It surprises me sometimes to see the students of today, the workers and leaders of the future, already expressing dismay about technology and innovation; it’s a change in the academic air that is disconcerting.  These are traditionally the innovators of the world.  If they’re shying away from innovation before they’ve even left college, where will the future come from?


  1. The article is actually not really about ebooks at all; the journalist adds in that hyperbole because she either truly doesn’t get it, or because she thinks hyperbole makes the article more ‘controversial.’ But if you read the quotes from students, you’ll find that a) business is slow once classes start since everybody has their books already, therefore classroom space, which is at a premium, was prioritized in this case and b) the bookstore has found ebooks not huge sellers anyway and the true under-cutter here is people who order books from Amazon because they are cheaper and can be delivered to their homes.

    You want to write an article on how campus bookstores can compete with Amazon, fair enough, but in spite of one reporter’s clumsy metaphor-mixing, this is one story that actually is not about ebooks at all.

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