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Rebel without a cause!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

End of Books?

Ajit Balakrishnan, the CEO of Rediff writes about the coming end of the era of books? Notice the questionmarks cos of course all predictions are difficult especially about the future.
I had earlier poured scorn on Sir Naipaul for expressing similar sentiments. But recently things are looking in a similar way to me and Mr. Balakrishnan draws remarkable parallels between this process and the introduction of printing in the first place. The culprit for the end of books seem most likely to be the electronic formats typified by the internet and ebooks.


nevermind said...

I disagree.

To quote John Lanchester, 'There are people who foresee a disaster for publishers and writers. Personally, I think that books are going to be OK, for one main reason: books are not only, or not primarily, the information they contain. A book is also an object, and a piece of technology; in fact, a book is an extraordinarily effective piece of technology, portable, durable, expensive to pirate but easy to use, not prone to losing all its data in crashes, and capable of taking an amazing variety of beautiful forms. Google Book Search is going to be a superb tool for accessing the information in books; but how much of Middlemarch or White Teeth or Tintin in Tibet is information? You can see in the Bodleian's rich holdings of manuscripts and old books just how much of the cultural history of books, and their cultural importance, lies in their bookness. This will, I think, dilute the impact of digitisation for writers and publishers: even if you could rip an MP3 of Moby-Dick, who on earth would prefer it to a bound copy?'

I could go on about why, but it's probably best that you read this

Mosilager said...

I haven't read any electronic book that i have but the paper books actually do get read when I'm "on the throne" so to speak. Don't know how it will be when the electronic ebook readers are cheaper and more available. It might be more convenient to read on them.

Suresh Ranga said...

Too soon means means in another 75-100 years time. No where in the next decade is this going to happen. People spoke the same when TV became popular that radio will die. Books are as what "nevermind" said a piece of technology. And they are different from electronic media. The books are more social. Even in developed countries, this decline has not happened. Even with so many e-books available free today, there is no decline in the print publications of the same. So it will more like the electronic media becoming an add on to the books. Books might have a connection to the headphones where it is read to. Or searches can be audio enabled, but content will still remain in the books.