By Alan Kilpatrick
What is the future of the book? Is the print book soon destined for the trash heap of history? Are eBooks the way of the future? The Economist recently tackled this controversial question in an online essay entitled From Papyrus to Pixels: The Future of the Book. The essay suggests a vibrant future for the book. Here is an excerpt:
Many are worried about what such technology means for books, with big bookshops closing, new devices spreading, novice authors flooding the market and an online behemoth known as Amazon growing ever more powerful. Their anxieties cannot simply be written off as predictable technophobia. The digital transition may well change the way books are written, sold and read more than any development in their history, and that will not be to everyone’s advantage. Veterans and revolutionaries alike may go bust; Gutenberg died almost penniless, having lost control of his press to Fust and other creditors.
But to see technology purely as a threat to books risks missing a key point. Books are not just “tree flakes encased in dead cow”, as a scholar once wryly put it. They are a technology in their own right, one developed and used for the refinement and advancement of thought. And this technology is a powerful, long-lived and adaptable one.
Do you agree? Let us know! Check out the rest of the essay here.