Back when I started library school (Fall of 1998), we were inundated with articles about how the printed book was dead. We had long discussions about what libraries will do when no one reads books anymore.
Well, here we are 12 years later and even in this "Year of the Kindle," the printed book is as strong as ever. Check out this essay from the Daily Beast in which the CEO of Ingram Book Company discusses the book's staying power.
How do I feel? Well I know that I don't have a Kindle as of yet. I know that the printed book is the perfect delivery device for reading: you don't need a power source and you can take it with you everywhere. I know that I cannot physically pass on a book I loved if it is on my ipod or Kindle. And, I know that libraries are busier than ever, and that a closer examination shows that book circulation stats are up. But I also know that we are going to use any leftover budget money from the BPL RA budget at the end of the year to buy 1 Kindle for the staff to use, evaluate, and think about how patrons could best use it.
I am all for technology, but time has shown that the book is here to stay. One of the best books on this is A History of Reading by Alberto Manguel. This is not a dry historical text, but a narrative of reading across the centuries.
So, today we have printed books, ebooks, and audio books. Hopefully, they stand together and encourage more people to read. We need to embrace the new without casting the old aside.
Which leads me to today's Monday Discussion please let me know how you feel about this issue. What do you think is the future of the book? How do you feel about the new book technologies? Do you think the Kindle (and others like it) is a fad?
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