“I realized I was reading ‘Why Paper Is Eternal’ paperlessly, on my computer”

Ezra Klein tried out a Kindle for a month, which led inevitably to a column wondering about the future of books.

I, for one, really don’t care if the books I enjoy come to me on a bunch of sheets of paper glued together, in audio form on a CD, beamed directly into my brain, or even in suppository form, for that matter. I love books, but the ideas contained in them are what really count. Being totemistic about the physical form in which those ideas are presented seems silly to me. As Klein puts it, “…the endless discussion as to whether books are dead tends to conflate ‘books’ with ‘text,’ and thereby obscures far more than it illuminates.”

Barring the total collapse of civilization in the very near future, something will largely replace the book eventually (sooner rather then later, probably), just as books largely replaced scrolls, and tapes largely replaced vinyl, and cars largely replaced horses. I’m not one who believes in letting markets solve everything, but I’d like to point out the horses and vinyl (and to a lesser extent, scrolls) are still around, because to many people they’re still better at some things than their replacements are. Books won’t be any different.

-Norm De Plume

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Published in: on May 12, 2008 at 4:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

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