Today was the first day of the missionaries’ examinations. What did I think?
1. On the whole, they did an excellent job of presenting a summary of the key points from their research paper for the year.
2. In general, they chose challenging topics and made a thorough analysis of problem areas, often finding cogent resolutions.
3. Their collegiality was encouraging.
4. Listening to them present inspired in me hope for the future of our church.
Driving home, I listened to NPR (National Public Radio). As an aside, when I was a kid, I thought listening to talk radio was a really foolish thing that only old people do. I mean, who turns on the radio to listen to people talking?? Radios were for music! But take a look at me now…and interpret as you wish 😉
On NPR, there was a heated conversation about Amazon’s place in the world of books and publishing. I had half a mind to sit in my car and hear the conclusion of the matter when I got home. The other half of my mind won the argument though.
The jist of what I caught in my 20minute commute, was that Amazon doesn’t care about the publishing industry. Because they sell other stuff on their website, they can give you books for peanuts, pretty much, as a lure for you to purchase other things from them. Come to think of it, Amazon is one of the first stops for me, when I think of where to buy…anything, really…especially books!
So, what’s the problem? It’s nice that we can get books for cheap! Well, I gather that publishers’ problem is that it drives down market value of books, so that publishers will have to sell their books for cheaper in the future. That would be fine if they had other sources of income as is the case for Amazon. But they don’t. They rely on book sales to fuel the whole publishing process – hiring authors, editors, marketing, etc. They don’t have an electronics department that’s making profit to bolster their losses on books.
As I turned the car engine off, they had begun to address the question of whether it’s really Amazon’s fault that publishers are selling less. Some statistics they cited seemed to indicate that people just don’t read books like they used to. It would appear, that book sales were declining way before e-books rolled around. Amazon kindle or no kindle, people just don’t buy books any longer.
I could see that! What, with Netflix, and hulu, and YouTube, and iTunes, and audiobooks, and audioverse…Who needs to read?
That is a huge part of why I was so proud of our missionaries today. They took time to read, study, parse the material for themselves. They had to read one book, check its references to find the next book, buy that book and read it to see if it had anything viable to offer… They communed with the minds of thinkers before them, and engaged in the process themselves to reach their conclusions.
Yeah, yeah, you think as you watch a documentary… But there’s just something about words on a page that lends itself to rigorous analysis!
Today’s experience challenged me to more diligent study.
Missionaries, I salute you.