THE END OF THE BOOK

 

Is there something about the book that ensures that no other technological innovation could ever supplant it?

 

Book has resisted radio, television, the movies, can it resist CD_ROM and the Internet?

 

Vision of the Classroom:

 

1.     The classroom will be huge: the linking of information worldwide will cause a democratic accessibility to knowledge.

 

2.     The classroom will be messy – the sense of information as an orderly and retrievable quantity will decline – and you may not find the information you are looking for in cyberspace at any given time

 

3.     There will be no teachers – the “controllers” of information – censors, editors, and studio executives will disappear and the gates of public discourse will swing open before everyone who can get on-line

 

The book, the newspaper and the video will be hard pressed to maintain their place in our culture

 

Who wouldn’t want a screen that accessed all currently existing forms of information from mail to movies with greater convenience and flexibility?

 

Books can excite the imagination, but they can’t make you literally see or hear.

 

When something intrigues the reader of a printed book, they have to wrestle with an index and then perhaps go the library to find more on the subject

 

Easier to hit a search button to log on to a database attached to the book to read something else on the same subject

 

“Hypertext” used to describe how knowledge would be accessed if all information were available simultaneously

 

But such “intertwining” – a vast linkage of electronic text across databases worldwide – would push the printed word to the margins and replace it with sleeker, more efficient text conveyors

 

Words as communication will be safe – it is a question of whether paper will give way to the computer screen or not

 

“Littera Scripta Manet” The written word endures.

 

Words are easy to transport and store, compared to images and video

More words produced in one week by the 20 million users on various loosely string computer networks than the number of books published by all the American book publishers in 1 year

 

The book will become like the horse after the invention of the automobile

The phonograph record after the arrival of the compact disc

It will not disappear but become obsolete

 

Titles for CD-ROM still mostly games. People are still learning how to do this

Publishers don’t know what to do. Much the same as the advent of the paperback explosion of the 60’s and 70’s

 

Publishing giants like Doubleday and Putnam publish 1/3 as many hardcover books as they did 10 years ago.

 

Publishing fewer books and most employees who are entering the multi-media content industry come from traditional print backgrounds

 

Random House putting Dr. Seuss on CD-ROM

 

But whether you read the Bridges of Madison County by turning a page or scrolling down on a computer screen – makes a big difference in the quality of the reading experience

 

Book is light, cheap and has changed little in 400 years which suggests an uncommonly apt design

 

 

 

Read it in the bathtub, on a beach, drop it, drop food or sun tan lotion on it, store it in the attic and pull it out 200 years later. It represents a technological stronghold that the computer will never evade. A computer is hardly comforting. Who wants to go to bed with a PowerBook?

 

But dictionaries and encyclopedias , which are effect databases in book form, can not match a computer chip in accessing given references

 

In 1989 the edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, the flagship publication of 400 year old university press, sold 4 times as many copies in the CD-ROM version compared to its traditional 20 volume book form

 

The company says the next print edition, due in 1999 might be the last

 

Colombia Encyclopedia might not have a paper counterpart

 

Electronic encyclopedias have all but driven print encyclopedias out of the market in large part because they are “bundled” and sold at a deep discount to computer hardware manufacturers to be included free when consumers by a CD-ROM drive or a new computer

 

CD-ROMS still slow to catch on. Many do not return to the computer store to purchase new discs. Not the same consumerism involved in the mid-1980’s and the compact disc player

 

Encarta – 5 years to develop –employing 100 people cost Microsoft more than 5 million dollars

 

Screens still difficult to read more than 10 minutes. Flat, antiseptic, bright white lighting.

 

Still read 370 year old First Folio editions of Shakespeare’s work  370 years after they came off the printing press

 

Indeed print changed the state of the whole world by producing multiple identical copies of texts that are permanently retrievable and widespread. It replaced the art of rhetoric and memory

 

Ours is a culture that has made a fetish of impermanence. Paperbacks disintegrate, Polaroid’s fade, video images wear out

 

Will those who write for a transitional technology like diskettes, CD-ROMs and UNIX tapes fade into obscurity like eight track tapes . BetaMax and the Apple Macintosh?