Requiem for the Book

Pile of booksA couple of weeks ago, I tore an article out of our local newspaper – Requiem for a Book was written by Llewellyn King.

He talks about what he sees as the inevitable extinction of the physical book – he considers technology the guilty party. While I’m not convinced that books are going away (I sure buy enough of them), I do worry about it.

And for what it’s worth, I like technology.

The following sentence in his article grabbed my attention:

When the book finally succumbs to life only among the electrons, gone will be not only the book but also the printer, the binder, the shipper and the bookseller.

I assume that he’s referring to folks involved in the publishing industry, but just in case:

Hell no. I’m not going anywhere.

6 Responses to “Requiem for the Book

By Sonya - 21 June 2012 Reply

My gut feeling is that CHEAP, DISPOSABLE books will disappear , and we will be left with electronic books for the everyday, and fine bound treasures to love and pass on.

I firmly believe that binding will not only live on, but be more valued tomorrow than today. Seriously.

Remember, technology is still novel and makes us giddy with possibilities, but ultimately, though it is convenient, it is also transient. That means it is rendered obsolete almost as soon as it is used.

In the end, no-one will want to inherit their grandmothers Kindle, and the value of the tactile lifelong companion will be understood once again.

We are not endangered, dear friend, just patient and enduring, as are the beautiful books we make.

Yours in binding,

~Sonya, in Australia~

By Karen Pior - 24 June 2012 Reply

While many people buy ebooks now, many others buy paper books from online sellers and many others still populate their local book stores. I think the days of the big, impersonal, chain booksellers are numbered but personal service will never go out of fashion. Nor will the feel and smell of a lovely book in your hand. Keep up the good work, the restoring and saving of treasures for those of us who still appreciate them and for those who will who have yet to come. Cheers, Karen

By Lizzie - 26 June 2012 Reply

I’m with you, Elissa and Sonya!

While cheap paperbacks are very likely to fade into the past, as e-readers and like technology become more and more popular (after all, I can carry an entire “library” with me, contained in the dimensions of my Kindle – an item the size of a novella!), “The Book” is more than that.
A Book is not just a device for recording words (and images) in print, on paper. It is an experience, an aesthetic object, a thing you can see, feel, smell, touch – and hopefully read as well. You form a relationship with a book (albeit one-sided!). You look at it, touch it, experience it as a lovely object. You can’t get that experience from an e-reader – or even a sophisticated image on a tablet computer. It is something that many, many people value for itself. That kind of experience is part of being human – even ancient mankind created book-like objects and decorated them.
So long as human beings love to experience art and beautiful objects, the book – and book binders & artists – will exist

By SOL - 27 June 2012 Reply

How many years are we hearing about the books death? I am sure that the worst predictions will not be met. Could you imagine a home without any book even of cooking, or about sewing or making furnitures?
How were going to fall asleep the children by night with no sound of pages going, moved by the hand of mom or dad?

Books will survive to the human species but we won’t be here to view it.

By Eric Greenwood - 20 July 2012 Reply

I have used a very cheap hardback book from a cheap dollar store, cut a hole in it so it can hold my ereader.. it makes the ebook feel like a proper book. I love the smell and touch of a proper book, but for travelling.

By Elissa - 24 July 2012 Reply

Eric –

That’s a great idea! I’ve seen something similar for iPads, but they didn’t use “real” books – they just have a bookish appearance. And sadly, no book smell. 🙁


So what do you think? I'd love to know!

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