This conversation is closed.

Can and will books ever be replaced by something other than we know it today?

Can books become completely intangible? Can the "feeling" of a book change with its texture? From clay tablet to papyrus to manuscript to book: will the book morph into something new?

Closing Statement from Leo Genazzano

This brainstorming session focused on the the question "Can and will books ever be replaced by something other than we know them today?". I was surprised to find a diverse collection of answers, many of them thought provoking, insightful, or just plain cool. Go on, take a glance.

For those who are interested to see some more "brain-picking" answers, I recommend Amir Azizi Sarajy, Don Stewart, Mary M, Stuart Woods 's work.

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    Apr 8 2012: What is the book? What is the language? What is the words? It is the media, we use to communicate, express and share our knowledge and feelings.
    To make a movie we need a screenplay, to make a videogame we need a screenplay.

    I think books can be replaced only when humankind will create a technology of telepathy=)
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    Apr 13 2012: Ebooks are already very popular. I think it will happen, you know, books becoming all digital. But it's still far off. Hopefully, not in my lifetime. I love the feel of good old-fashioned books in my hands...
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    Apr 10 2012: Waterstones in Britain has the tagline 'Feel every word' and I think this sort of embodies what you mention as the changing nature of how the object feels in our hands. Whilst I don't believe that the electronic devices and the traditional book are mutually exclusive I do recognize the fear people have in any potential demise of the paper format. Paper has morphed over the centuries and now contains much material which our ancestors would not recognize. I have seen 'paper' made from recycled plastic and other objects and as such now need not be made wholly from actual trees. Paper absorbs smell and so will continue to be distinct from an electronic device. Libraries have within them centuries of amassed meaning and and the symbolism of knowledge. The sheer presence of actual knowledge within books will always be seductive and compelling to humans (I like to think more than is wrapped up in our ego) .The electronic device will never replace a book. It does, however, offer a very convenient and portable alternative for NEW reading but does not I believe, stand to represent what we FEEL about ACCUMULATING reading and knowledge. I think of the scene in Harry Potter in Dumbledore's office and despite possessing sufficient magic to hold all his books 'virtually' in time and space he decides to have them exist on paper on towering shelves...why? because of what they represent and project about us as humans. I think paper (in whatever sustainable format it can) will endure. At the other end of the spectrum (literally) and in terms of sustainability, are we ready to ask , what will we do instead of toilet paper in the future? The same predicament exists. Books will live forever!
    • Apr 11 2012: Hello Mr. Woods
      While I like your answer to my question (especially the example from Harry Potter) I recommend you to see my counter-argument in reply to Mary M.
      Couldn't Dumbledore had a library of scrolls? Or Kindles? Don't Kindles represent us humans?
      Thank you
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    Apr 9 2012: What happens if you take a Kindle to a book signing?
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      Apr 9 2012: That is rather funny.I wonder if 60 years from now we will wax over the virtues of the kindle and how it smells.

      The problem is is that you can't beat a book.
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        Apr 9 2012: My problem is my house, my garage, my storage lock-up are all full of books. And that's just the ones I plan to refer to or read again. Love books but out of space!
        • Apr 9 2012: i think that's amazing. but how do you find the one you want ? do you know where they all are ?
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          Apr 9 2012: LoL you need to open your own library or seek digital versions.
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        Apr 9 2012: Started transferring to digital only for all my work about 7 years ago, but have lots of legacy hard copies that are difficult to incorporate into the system. Use a computer based index for the hard copies.
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          Apr 10 2012: Yes that's a major problem,today's drives are tomorrows legacy drives.I think the IDE drives have a life expectancy of ten years?SSD's 5 years? A book much longer.Even storing online is a risk,look what happened to Capathia's servers when Kim Dotcom was arrested,now all that data will be wiped.

          I think the future of physical storage will be through nanotech so that we could have a book that looks exactly like a natural book but instead is a mass storage unit,Sci-Fi-ish but take a look at the next generation of memchips below.

          http://scitechdaily.com/transparent-memory-chips-the-next-step-in-memory-storage/
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      Apr 10 2012:  
       
      A more important question: why does celebritism still affect you? If you like an author's book, then sure, meet the person, ask him or her questions that weren't answered or explained in the book. Talk to him or her about related topics. But getting his or her autograph? That just seems silly to me, like a rock band groupie-type of activity.
       
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        Apr 10 2012: I don't think of authors as celebrities, but as someone who has shared their thoughts with me. Signing the book gives the book itself a more intimate connection with the person whose ideas it contains. Signed books in general seem to have a certain aura. Have an aeronautics text book that was owned by Frederick Handley-Page (a pioneer aircraft designer) that he signed. Have a family bible signed by members of each generation of my family since 1879.
  • Apr 21 2012: Hello all TEDies!
    Me again. 12 hours to go, and I don't know whether I will have time to say a nice "thank you and goodbye" before the closing words. And I have promised to share my own feelings and thoughts at the end of the conversation. However, I don't think it's fair that I should write my own feelings in the closing line (your ideas are just as smart) so I am writing my own post.
    I think that books will live on. I also think that other "writing mediums" (like the Tablet) will enter our world and share the spotlight. Perhaps they will even steal it for a few months. But the book, our tired faithful friend, will stay with us a little while longer.
    Practically, it is very useful. It is compact. It can have pictures. You can tell the difference between one and the other at a glance.
    This does not mean it will stay with us forever. Nothing human-created stays with us forever. But if so many of us love the book, I don't see a reason it should go. Yet.
    Thank you all very much. Have wonderful lives. לחיים.

    Leo Genazzano
    (By the way, you probably won't care, but this is a pseudonym. Bye!)
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    Apr 16 2012: I think the book and the CD are both going the way of vinyl in recording. It's unfortunate, and I will not give up real books, or CDs in my lifetime.

    The thing that concerns me most about this trend is that digital information can be changed instantly, and easily, to something completely different. It can also be destroyed with the flick of a button. The other problem with digital is that your access can be limited with the flick of a button (read and analyse your amazon or kindle TOS) Hard-copy is much more difficult to change, and once you pay for it, you OWN it (instead of just "the right to access it"). I would refer you to the recent re-make of the movie "Animal Farm", or better yet, the book by George Orwell.
  • Apr 16 2012: I never really though of a book as anything more than a story to be read. But in reality, books are more than paper with words. Books are decorations, and expression of style, a visual testimony to your personal intellectual journey, sitting right on your bookshelf. Books have a real life presence, they take up space and consume resources... and live far beyond their original reading. They provide a history of memory at a glance. Like photo's or paintings... just because technology can display them on a screen does not diminishthe value of their physical incarnations. I imagine will will continue to see both medium so long as the technologies and resources exist to produce them both.
  • Apr 14 2012: YES !!!... I think that all books can be replaced by something much better. Experiences. Like in the fictional Pensieve in the Harry Potter Series.

    Once we understand and how the brain works, it might be possible to download memories (like in Matrix series) and experiences. Of course there could be many variants of these technologies. But I believe that the demand for tangible books will dwindle over time.
  • Apr 13 2012: Still far off, or hope so :)
  • Apr 11 2012: Sometimes it is not just about the book itself. When someone is on a train, bus or in a public place they say something about themselves with the book they are reading. It allows others to take a glimpse into that persons live and imagine what kind of person they are. It's a social thing.
    The same interaction can also influence the watchers decision on the next book they read.
    Kindles and others make that kind of interaction impossible and the reader becomes insular.
    Will digital effect sales of books?
    I believe there is a good case for keeping the book.
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      Apr 11 2012: I agree, when you visit someones house for the first time, you can find out a lot about the real person by looking at their bookshelf
    • Apr 11 2012: I agree. Sometimes is also a way to start a conversation, and you can discover new interesting people for this reason:)
  • Apr 10 2012: The purpose of any book is to convey a message; a story. The manner in which it is transcribed, whether it be on an actual book, tablet (electronic or stone), wall etching or napkin, is secondary to the quality of the communication. Stories were told for thousands of years before tools were created to write them down, and they will continue to be so in the future. I think words are incredibly powerful. They can hurt, they can mend, they can bring great joy or sadness. They can motivate and inspire people to achieve greatness and they can help up to share experiences. I love the physical experience of holding an actual book. I also love the functionality that online e-book offers. But most of all, I love the messages they hold, regardless of what form they take on.
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    Apr 9 2012: One day the content of books will be sent directly into the brain via a USB type plug - thus by-passing the need to visually decode text - the information / emotion will pass straight into our memory.

    Hopefully I'll be long gone by then.
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      Apr 10 2012: I think the very first person that has that will go into a catatonic state as the brain locks up from a strange rearrangement.
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        Apr 11 2012: Hay, you're probably right - but even today we have cochlear implants!
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      Apr 11 2012: That is a good idea for the future, but I really hope they know more about the human brain than they do now!
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    Apr 9 2012: I sure hope not.
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    Apr 19 2012: Books, as a mean to lay down information is probably here to stay. It is a way for some people, who like to write, to compose their art in a way that is ireplaceable. The intimacy between the writer and his lines, the way how he can oversee sections of his work and manipulate them to perfect them is not possible by neither voice or video recording; It has to be writing. And some people like to write, it is a form of art, just like composing music, or painting.

    Also, some information is most easily accessible via a booklike structure (in spite of the fact that the flow of information this way is quite slow, as a fellow member mentioned earlier). Take for example a documentation: it is very annoying having to wind back a video in order to understand a section which proves difficult to get at such fast pace.

    Books as a means of storing information, will probably change. But for that to happen, digital sorage needs to be more reliable by many magnitudes of order compared to how it is now. It will also need to be an open format: it will not be acceptable to be coerced into buying a certain gadget in order to be able to read a book.
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    Apr 19 2012: Story-telling is universal to humanity, perhaps 100,000+ years old.
    Books are beloved by many cultures of the world, but they are only
    the mass market delivery vehicle of the last few hundred
    years.
    They will likely be replaced with a new form of technology.
    But we must be careful not to throw out the baby, and find
    a way to properly reward authors and other book-making
    professionals.
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    Apr 19 2012: Hi Leo and thanks for this hot conversation .

    you know everyone grows up with a different culture , different heroes , different values , lets say I am writing a book and I say : I saw a very beautiful girl . As a reader you'd immediately think of the most beautiful girl You have seen, not the one I am SHOWING on the screen , so you are relying purely on your cultural , personal life and experience and you d dive into your own world , That is how a book works.

    say I am a film maker , and I am saying the same thing on screen , I will show a cute girl, but you may or may not like her , you will see my VISION, not YOURS. That is why I am saying people would get the same thing , I mean , you ask 100 different people about a cute girl and they ll give you 100 different ideas , not a unified single one .

    But the biggest difficulty with Books is the fact that they are bounded and limited to the language and culture that created them, that is why Jokes do not work in other languages , hence the term Lost in Translation .

    The future needs faster way of information transference , communication and spreading the idea in the shortest possible time.

    People do not have time to listen, they might just have enough time to take a look , and they are from hundred different nations , that is why I am saying Cosmopolitanism will take over and images will be more ubiquitous

    Best, Amir
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    Apr 19 2012: Books as the way they are will be replaced for sure, something like Apple's new Book will take place, something interactive because book by nature is slow, I mean its a pack of organized information and by reading it you r trying to get that packages into your mind , but the pace is really slow and certainly very slow for 21 century.

    I think reading would have its place cause its the most abstract way of imagining and imagination practice , I mean if 100 people see a movie they d probably get the same thing more or less but same 100 reading a book , each would make the world of their own.

    But I think books in future would rely more on Pictures and Culture free info delivery packs and less on culturally bounded languages based words.

    the reason by my sight is Globalism and Cosmopolitanism , people of the world are all connected , and image has a universal language , words do not .

    if you show an apple to people from 190 different countries all will have the same idea , granted symbolic use of it might evoke different meaning but say in a normal context , it would seem like apple to all of this Global viewers to say that in words you have to translate it to 170 languages .
    • Apr 19 2012: Hello Amir
      I have understood the general gist of your meaning but there is a slight paradox in your comment. I understand what you said about "if 100 people see a movie they'd probably get the same thing more or less but same 100 reading a book , each would make the world of their own". It is one of the points I like about the book.
      However, you also said books will rely more on pictures. A movie, though, is after all a
      series of pictures. Can you explain this to me? You are going in a new direction in this talk.

      However, I beg you to reply quickly as this conversation ends in 2 days.

      Very grateful
      L.G.
  • Comment deleted

    • Apr 19 2012: Good day Don
      You really are excited about the radio idea! Well, I think the radio is great too. But today it shares the stage with iPods and downloaded music. But it isn't gone entirely...
      Maybe that's what's going to happen with books. They might continue being made, while something new (the Tablets and Kindles) will come and steal the spotlight for a while. Maybe the Tablets will return to live a life hand in hand with the book. Like the radio and the iPod.

      Thanks for the inspiration, you made my day.

      L.G
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    Apr 18 2012: Leo sicuro che lei conosce Alessandro Baricco....eil suo libro "I barbari".....
    Per non andare senza guida in questo mestiere dei libri e meglio vedere che cosa pensa Baricco e anche Luciano De Crescenzo, e Mondadori, e Latterza e Franco Maria Ricci, e Enaudi, Corraini e tanti altri.

    Una domanda per te...A che cosa chiama libro?....sicuro che non e quella da dove nascono i film.....o no?

    Auguri
    • Apr 19 2012: Hi Jaime
      (I am writing in English for the benefit of other users.)
      I never have heard of "I Barbari" but according to what I read it seems to talk about a type of dystopia. Have you read it? Can you tell me (us) what it's about?

      Grazie
      Leo
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        Apr 20 2012: Leo, the original edition is from Fandango Libri, Roma 2006. and its about the barbarian invasion from inside. Baricco writes about how we lost the original culture aim because we use the short cuts to everywhere. Among this shorcuts are the simulated books, the no-books.
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    Apr 18 2012: I think 'replaced' is the wrong verb. With the advent of the Internet, the TV evolved to digital transmission, we search for information via Google, yet we still have libraries...

    So I suppose books will evolve, rather than be replaced.
    • Apr 18 2012: Loved this understanding and vision....yes evolve....thank you...Phew...many of us are worried...Leo has opened up a can of worms.....
    • Apr 19 2012: Evolved... What a nice verb! I daresay it has a calmer connotation than "changed". How though, aesthetically, will they change? Do you mean that every few years a subtle change- a thinner book cover, a digital blurb- will pass and morph its shape?

      I really want to hear as many answers as possible.
      Thanks
      L.G.
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    Apr 18 2012: I would like to say no but unfortunately, yes. A good example is the Kindle. Its a hunk of plastic, glass and maybe some metal. I think its ruining our old age tradition of books. When someone gets a new book they can feel the pages and smell that rotten smell that most books have (even though it is nice sometimes). With a Kindle, you cant get that same experience. My point is that we need to keep our tradition of physical books alive. At least, that would be my dream. But instead, we are spiraling downward and Kindles, iPads, and other electronic book readers are leading the way.
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    Apr 17 2012: God I hope not.

    My wife tells me constantly that I smell like old books. I take that as a sign of love, even though I know what she's saying is to get my butt out of the library and go help her work in the garden.

    Doesn't lend anything to the discussion, but at least you know that there are those of us still here who are enraptured with the tactile presence of the physical book. And even though my iPad does mean I can read in peace while my wife can sleep, but I will state that when armageddon comes and all batteries are dead, then y'all gonna be beating down my door asking for something to read by candlelight.

    Not to worry though. The Verble Gherulous library is always free and open to the public.
  • Apr 17 2012: Hello all TEDies
    There are 4 more days left till shutdown. I have gathered most of the answers here and divided them into 5 groups.

    BOOKS ARE...

    1. Never going to go away and don't even hint they will!

    2. Already gone. The next generation won't even know how to flip a page.

    3. Going, going... But not quite gone. They probably will be after I am no more.

    4.Should go. Tree-hugging rocks!

    5. (new suggestion) going to be only one of the story reading mediums in our future, unlike today, where it is the main device.

    Can the answers be categorized differently? Do we need to zoom out to see the answers?
    I will try and post my answer (I realize my rhetoric questions are become very tiring) another time.

    P.S.
    If anyone knows the answer to this question please help! What happens to the conversation after the discussion time is up? I have never started a conversation until now. Thanks.

    Leo G.
    • Apr 17 2012: Hi Leo, well, you have the ability to extend the conversation by changing the time left....this happens when you log on and come to the conversation. Your screen will look different from ours.Also, when the conversation officially closes, because time has run out, you can go to the conversation, and you will see that there is a special box for you to post 'Closing Remarks'........you will get to have the last word. If you want to know what it looks like, here is a link to a conversation I started, and then closed:



      http://www.ted.com/conversations/9222/what_causes_anger_can_you_co.html
      • Apr 18 2012: Thanks very much, Mary. I will certainly use your help.
        Leo
  • Apr 17 2012: I don't believe that books will ever go out of style. I am a full time student; I read and study basically all the time. Most of my classes have very heavy text books. a few of my classes have just ePub books or short articles to read. once I read the article, my relationship with the article is basically complete. with my text books, I read them, look at diagrams, scribble in the margins, highlight them. I flip the pages madly when looking for answers. when I am done my exams, I put them on my bookshelves to refer back to. I know where the information I want is, I can go back to it.

    reading for pleasure is the same thing. I love flipping pages and holding the book. looking for dogearred pages even years later reminds me of how much I loved my novels. they sit on my shelf, tempting me take a break. my bookshelf is a better testament to my personality and tastes than just about any other object in my house.

    I think we might augment books, but I for one will never replace my beloved books.
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    Apr 15 2012: Books made of paper are on a short road to obsolescence. It's progress. It's all good.
  • Apr 15 2012: i believe that the book as we have known it is dying and as the old guard vanishes and that great page turner turns to a great page scroll children are already being turned on to palms its just the way it goes i remember the first time i was first confronted with an escalator scary the steps were moving up to that moment i moved and the steps stood still and so it goes now i see little kids walking towards a door and just keep walking knowing the door will open the coming generations will accept this as normal and then theres the bean counters they are already factoring in what will be saved by this change and the tree huggers are jumping with joy so hold tightly to your tomes they will be joining the dodo bird soon
  • Apr 14 2012: Greetings all TEDies
    Me again. I would like to remind you that there is one week to post your enlightening, fantastic, awesome, and interesting comments only YOU can write.
    I am still perplexed with the question I asked in my previous post ("Does the fact books are relatively common and hold information for everyone make them popular? So popular, in fact, that they will never go away?") and am eagerly awaiting for more examples.
    Thanks
    Leo G.
    • Apr 15 2012: I just thought of something.......why books only......think about a greeting card.......

      Isn't it great to get greeting cards and invitations by mail?

      There is something totally "humane" in receiving a message IN YOUR HANDS.....you can touch it, smell it, see it, hear it, display it, spray perfume on it.......Well, books are kind of like that.......

      It's not the same cozying up to a good book, than cozying up to a metallic cold lighted up screen. You have to be in fear of spilling food on it, a drink could render it useless.......and what about pop up books....the kind you open and bam....a beautiful illustration.......Some books are textured for children to feel....others have holes....like the "very hungry caterpillar"....who eats his way through fruits and cupcakes......I know, these are children books...they will probably continue to be made.

      There are also beautifully illustrated adult books. Some books have beautifully edged sides, some have ribbons to mark the pages as you go. I could go on and on Leo.....your question has so many things to say......and being an avid reader and a teacher I have been around so many many books that I can't imagine a world without them.

      "To the making of many books there is no end".....Wise King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 12:12

      Bet you didn't know the scriptures talked about book making huh??? Look up the text and you'll see the second half of the text......quite a balanced vie of life, if you ask me.

      Arrivederci (did I spell that right?)
      • Apr 16 2012: Hi
        I find lots of truth in the paragraphs you wrote. I am guessing that what you wrote could connect with all bookworms in the world. I hope there WILL be bookworms in the future to "feel" the book, as you (and others) said.
        This post has given me a new idea. Thanks again for describing your experience.
        • Apr 16 2012: You are welcome.

          I would love to hear what you are going to do with all the information you have collected here.
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    Apr 14 2012: I hope not. Like most people, I still enjoy feeling the pages and hearing every page turn.
  • Apr 14 2012: Yes. In time maybe 50 years maybe sooner. the technology is there to store books digitally store, and I remember that a machine costing 1 million dollars. so when ever a book is wanted it is located digitally and then the machine can send it as an e-boook or print and bind the bind how the customer wishes.
  • Apr 13 2012: EXACTLY... FIRST IMPRESSION IS LAST IMPRESSION...
    SOME tips are below that how to replace
    http://www.jackedup.me/
  • Apr 13 2012: Hello (again) TEDies and readers
    Once again I am impressed with the amount of comments the simple question is receiving. I would like to point out a single comment made by Mary M. who upon answering some of my questions said this:

    " ... I was under the impression that not everyone had access to scrolls in the old days."

    I pondered upon this quote. Excuse me once more as I post yet ANOTHER question to the public.
    Does the fact books are relatively common and hold information for everyone make them popular? So popular, in fact, that they will never go away?

    I thank you again for your patience

    Leo G.
    • Apr 14 2012: Hey Leo, I think that perhaps the fact that they are readily available, and easy to reproduce, are good reasons why they will not go away any time soon.

      Also, think about the fact that alot of the people who read are the retired folks...older population.....I see them all the time sitting at the beach reading and sipping a soda....don't the electronic gizmos have glare issues???.....maybe this is another factor to your question.....I don't know....let's see what others say.

      You know, there is a great site for kids "Tumblebooks" that has over 100 books on line, but pictures and all and it is read to the children out loud....afterwards they take a small quiz.....I can see enjoying books this way. But to put them on a small, flat screen.....as far as kids are concerned...I just don't know.

      I think the technology complements the real thing. But I find it hard to think of a world without books.
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    Apr 13 2012: My beautiful young intronaut niece

    Just finished a 20,000 word girly book and proceeded to announce to me that that was "A mission" I smile when i think of it, so in response to her i told her "Wait til you read books that has 3-500,000 words in them" there was an instant NO! in her eyes.
    • Apr 14 2012: Ken, hahaha......my daughter read the 13 book series of Limeny Snickets series of Unfortunate Events....plus all the Little House of the Praire books by Laura Ingals Wilder...and she just can't get enough words in.....she walks out of the room in the morning with a book under her arm and I ask most mornings: "Did you sleep with that thing under you arm?".........she smiles and says "oh mom, if only I could read while I'm sleeping"........We ADORE books!!!!!
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    Apr 12 2012: Major publishers (the ones we are familiar with, at least) may die out, but books will not. Ever. They have survived banning, burning and bibliocide throughout history, edured electronic media from the first word processor to e-books, and will continue to thrive in our future. The self-contained, complete hard copy is durable, sharable, transferable, scribblable, quotable, and endlessly reproducible in most available media, video and audio, past, present and future.

    Books don't run out of power, and have persisted through thousands of years of technological advancement, prepaid plans, planned obsolescence, unstable service providers. Their only external energy requirement is a secondary light source.

    We may eventually download 'content' directly into our brains, but that won't prevent people from writing, crafting, binding, selling, purchasing, reading, trading, re-reading, re-selling, and enjoying the physical, social, and sensual dimensions of books.
    • Apr 12 2012: Hello Mr. Stewart
      Does the fact that books are physically stronger prolong their presence in our culture? Anyone who has read the dystopian novel 1984 is familiar with the concept of "global stupidity"- a puposeful plan to make all humans narrow minded. Books are not read there not because they have not physically survived but because no one wants or needs to read them.
      "Books don't run out of power, and have persisted through thousands of years of technological advancement, prepaid plans, planned obsolescence, unstable service providers." In other words, what you have written here is that "survival of the fittest" works for objects as well. Unlike other commenters, you have concentrated on the physical aspects of a book and not it's feel, texture, smell, blablabla.
      Personally I do not think the physical aspect of an object guarantees its survival. I m very interested in hearing your response (and of other readers') and would ever be grateful if you find examples of your "survival of the fittest" theory.
      Yours Truly
      Leo
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        Apr 12 2012: Hello, Mr. Genazzano -

        Interesting how you have elected to reduce my comments regarding the longevity of books to the oft-misplaced slogan of an economist. I'm sure if I chose to consider your observation further, there are likely any number of objects that would come to mind whose physical durability alone has allowed them to withstand the rigors of time. That feature may or may not qualify such items to be revered, though, which is why I took time to list a number of other qualities about books that, in my opinion, add to their longstanding and perhaps, hopefully, continuing value - including the sensual (blah-balh) parts.

        If indeed we elect to devolve into a world community wherein knowledge is no longer of value, books may not survive. But then, neither may we, for long, under such circumstances. I choose to believe in a future of thinking, feeling, creative, problem-solving human beings. It is arguable that these people may not always have at their disposal the technological marvels we enjoy today. They will, however, have books.
  • Apr 12 2012: for me It already has. I love the dictionary, bookmark, highlight functions of iBook. I can't read any books without it.
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    Apr 12 2012: Hi Leo,

    Thanks for the reply, frankly the difference between having a pile of Kindles (I'm using a brand name here which seems to already be the shorthand for the electronic device - congrats Kindle join Hoover and Sellotape!) and a pile of books (or indeed scrolls) is the PRESENCE of every word, sentence and paragraph in REAL space, kindles don't (as yet ,but may) evolve in some way but we simply wouldn't accumulate a mass of them because this defeats the object of their compact , portable ability to hold reading matter. Yes they do represent us in a way I guess, just not sure how yet. I do use an electronic device to read and enjoy it very much.
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    Apr 12 2012: They should design more interactive digital books that are geared for more modern and adult users because kids are not the only ones that like moving pictures and games to play while reading. =)
  • Apr 12 2012: for sure, look at what we have seen in the way of changes over the last few yrs. Many people think there will always be books however I do not thnk so
  • Apr 11 2012: To the person who is currently reading this comment
    I would like to thank anyone who commented (that is, everyone underneath the grey line). They really have said interesting things and I encourage you to read them before posting your own insightful comment. I did not expect the sudden avalanche of "yes"es, "no way"s, and "maybe"s. You have 10 days to scribble your comment.

    Remember that Kindles and Tablets are NOT THE ONLY WAY of recording written stories.
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    Apr 11 2012: who the hell could know it ?
  • Apr 11 2012: Well, maybe, maybe not. It's hard to tell.

    Perhaps if they discover that electronic devices cause major eye damage, then books will continue to thrive.

    I love to read magazines and books....the feel of paper in my hand, the feel of the weight of the book, choosing the right book mark for the book I'm reading, whether I choose a gum wrapper, or the envelope by phone bill came in, ......remembering where I read something because I can visualize the exact part of the book or magazine and I can turn to it.....watching the number of pages dwindle as I finish a good book....going to the library and thumbing through the new arrivals........I sure hope books will not be replaced with something else. But even if they are, we still have the old ones, and those can last a long, long, time.
    • Apr 11 2012: Hello Mary
      I like your description of reading with a book.
      Let's hypothetically say scientists do find an eye-damaging problem with the Tablet or Kindle. Cigarettes are considered extremely unhealthy today but people still smoke them daily. If and when this generation get's "used to" the Kindle, will they want to go back to books, regardless of eye problems or not?
      Another point I wish to make is about your description. If I had asked an ancient Roman the same question but about the stylus or scroll, he (or she) might have described the wonderful feeling of scraping wax off a tablet and the sound of an unwrapping scroll. Both objects are gone nowadays. Do you think books will be an exception?
      • Apr 11 2012: Hello Leo,

        Thank you for your reply.
        I'm afraid I can't answer your first question. Who can understand humans completely??
        I would imagine though that people with common sense already know that abuse of technology could expose them to all kinds of dangers. Do we really need scientists to tell us of the dangers always? I kind of think many humans are very smart when it comes to identifying potential dangers.

        Secondly, I was under the impression that not everyone had access to scrolls in the old days.
        Most people were read to.......like in the sinagogues and so forth.

        Information is very valuable. Whether it is delivered digitally or in paper form, the important thing is that we continue to share information.

        I wish I had more insight into your thought provoking question Leo. I'll wait just like you to see what happens. In the meantime, let's hope libraries will continue to receive funding....

        Be Well.
  • Apr 10 2012: Eventually, books and anything made with paper or based on paper may dissappear. And this will happen for two reasons. 1. Technology is constantly evolving and Kindle or "n" pads or "n" tabs will find its way and catch more and more consumers. Most of my books are .pdf files. Because of space, i have no space to store books. And when i buy a Popular Mechanics or a National Geographic magazine, i carefully scan all pages at a good resolution and turn it into a primitive digital document. Otherwise i would have no space to store so much paper.
    Reason 2. Paper comes from wood => wood comes from trees => trees will soon be part of the list of endangered species.
    And maybe 20 or 30 years from now humanity will have to stop bringing trees down. If we dont, it may turn into a matter of life or death of our species.
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    Apr 10 2012: Culturally relevant literature is filled with everyday common events, young adult characters and situations which cross the bridge between reading and writing, which connects students to ideas and themes and gets them cognitively ready for the classics. How can students interact with their writing when their choices of literature are far away from their day to day reality?
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    Apr 9 2012: I hope not. Please, NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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    Apr 9 2012: It sounds really difficult to read an "intangible" book. I can touch a Kindle so it is not intangible. I guess I would be unable to touch a hologram, so perhaps the Kindle will give-way to holograms. . . maybe we will watch the movie while we read the book! Also, regarding technology, can you name something that is the same today as it was ten years ago?
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    Apr 9 2012: Thank you for your question. This is not only a question to us who are getting used to reading traditional books, but also to people who are interested in technology. Is it possible that books are turned to e-books completely? Will people be ready to change their reading habit or can we all afford to pay for a tablet? Etc.
    In my opinion, it is possible to say that in some places around the world, e-books are becoming more and more popular. However, not the whole world as well as everyone in the world. Some people will say that they think this is really an amazing invention but to others, they may prefer reading traditional papers. Also, I think that reading a real book brings more interesting experience as well as better for my eyes than using electric items. That's my own thought. I would appreciate if you could tell me more about your ideas. Thank you.
  • Apr 9 2012: I do not think the book, the paper one, will never die. It cannot be replaced by Kindles, Ipads, Tablets etc.

    Even now, when we have all these devices, we still buy books. The market does not suffer by the creation of these new medias.

    A "real" book engages our imagination, our olfaction, sight, creativity.

    As a personal note, when I read something, I need to speak with the author, putting a note on the margin, underilining words. This is something that cannot be done with the new devices, unless you settle with a surrogate.
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    Apr 8 2012: Great question! I think this question is like asking if bicycles will ever be replaced by motor vehicles. No, books will always remain. The form may change, but the idea of reading from something you can hold in your hands, will persist. I am sure we will see Tablets, kindles, phones, ipads as reading devices. But nothing can hold the ground like books do. Even today...
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      Apr 9 2012: I agree books have some life in them yet, even the paper versions.
      New media and technologies change the way we access books - I read books on the kindle mostly and just buy reference books or special fiction.
      Also online magazines, blogs, and social media, tv, films compete for our leisure time.
      I enjoy the richness of options and content.

      One criticism/concern I have is much of the new content is light/shallow. Our ability to think, ponder, read deeply. our attention spans seem to be shrinking

      I worry the next generation have even less patience to read books than mine.

      Still enjoy curling up with kindle on occassion to read a book. But glad to have the option to see a TEDS video or comment on blogs. Also just to sit quitely with everything turned off is nice.
    • Apr 20 2012: I own a tablet in which i keep a hardy collection of my literature (namely the fiction ones). It's convenient and the portability is definitely a plus when traveling. Though, there are certain books I simply cannot read on a digital platter. Artistic books and some of my more expensive, lengthy reference books fit this bill.

      I love the ability to annotate and comment inside of my books and I love having a physical copy of the book that I can physically manipulate.

      I like your analogy of a bicycle to a motor vehicle. A motor vehicle is more expensive but gets you where you wish to go in a relatively short time however nothing beats the sheer thrill of a riding a bike every now and then. I believe the same will apply to books.
  • Apr 8 2012: i think the book is knowledge , entertainment and a way of recording something. whether this be a thought or a fact, story or non-fiction. The book to me can't be replaced it's something which i would consider universal. if you are familiar with 'ghost in a shell' a manga- animated film the next step would be simply plug yourself in and absorb the information, much like the matrix, that presents the gain of this information as a surge or rush removing emotion, nothing to suspense that a real page turner gives. why would you want to simply quickly absorb something when you can cruise and savor something, it's like eating. there is a chance one day technology could take this leap... but i hope it doesn't.