I had lunch with a friend yesterday and during the course of our conversation, he observed that, “The earth has seven billion people on it and in 10 years the projection is for nine billion.” He is a man who works with numbers, so he uttered his observation with awe. As for me, the difference had little consequence, unless it represented a difference in the balance of my savings account.
I don’t really get numbers and my math grades testify to that. Still, I was thinking of these figures later that afternoon when I clicked on my computer to check for sales of my book, “Gothic Spring.” It occurred to me thenthat the population of books in the electronic world is also mind-boggling.
I don’t recall there being so many of them when I was growing up. Those of which I was aware were contained in a single space called “the library” and could be located by knowing their number within the Dewey Decimal System.
All that has changed, of course. Today, books are stored somewhere in the cloud, their numbers surpassing the constraints of brick and mortar, and they appear to be growing toward the infinite. Just imagine all those books multiplying relentlessly by the square root of something until even the clouds implode. And still their numbers will swell as new authors, old authors and even the revised editions of dead authors continue to be published.
The statistic is alarming and precisely because in ten years we can expect a population of a mere 9 billion. Given the quantity of books to be read, the number of readers won’t be nearly enough.