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Old 07-16-2010, 08:36 AM   #1
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BBC News - "Traditional books 'may not survive electronic age'"

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotlan...-fife-10652613

"The three-day "Material Cultures" conference, which starts on Friday, will focus how electronic books and media devices might influence the world of publishing."

Is anyone here attending this conference?
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Old 07-16-2010, 09:26 AM   #2
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Right, since ebooks are so permanent (anyone still able to read their ebook .pdf of William Nolan's _Logan's Return_?). Who all got caught flat-footed when Amazon quit carrying their previous line of ebooks.

Books will certainly persist as sumptuous presentations and large format texts for the foreseeable future. Until there're standards which allow instantaneous transmission of content, print will continue to exist for ephemeral things like advertising flyers, concert and theatre programs, &c.

Mainstream books will slowly be replaced by files on ebook readers --- but given the slow market penetration which such have had it's going to be a few years yet.

William
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Old 07-16-2010, 10:42 AM   #3
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We've been hearing of the death of the traditional book for years. Not that long ago, the experts were saying that books would not survive the arrival or the World Wide Web. Before that, television was going to kill off the book. And before that, rado and the cinema.

In fact, there's a rumour that the second book printed by Guthenberg was a treatise on the crisis facing the book industry.
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Old 07-16-2010, 10:55 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike L View Post
We've been hearing of the death of the traditional book for years. Not that long ago, the experts were saying that books would not survive the arrival or the World Wide Web. Before that, television was going to kill off the book. And before that, rado and the cinema.

In fact, there's a rumour that the second book printed by Guthenberg was a treatise on the crisis facing the book industry.
Sooner or later, they're going to be right.

Do you really think people will be reading paper books 100 years from now? How about 50 years? 20? 10? 5? Personally, I can't see ever buying another paperback novel. So for me, it's now. When basic eReaders cost $50, virtually everyone will have one. And then the low ROI on printing paperbacks will make them prohibitively expense.

So I say, "Stick a fork in them. They're done."
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Old 07-16-2010, 11:32 AM   #5
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I just hope ebooks become half-decent before they displace their more mature predecessors.
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Old 07-16-2010, 11:41 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HamsterRage View Post
Sooner or later, they're going to be right.

Do you really think people will be reading paper books 100 years from now?
Fiction, probably not. However, just about any oversized book -- particularly art books and some textbooks -- will probably always do better in paper format. Paper is much easier to annotate, and I don't think that will change even with tablet computers.

Paper also does not require an intermediary device or batteries -- so unlike 78's or 8-track tapes, paper can continue for a long, long time. There are hundreds of millions of existing paper books floating around, and it may easily take 100 years to really get that out of circulation.

What is likely to happen is that other than limited runs of oversized books, print on demand will become the primary method of generating paper books. In some cases it will be an expansion of existing POD outlets (e.g. you order a book from Amazon, they print it on demand and ship it the same day). In other cases it may be a big kiosk at an airport.

These changes also take longer than most people presume. For example CD's still constitute over half of music sales, and more than half of the revenues, despite the rise of digital downloads.

Paper won't be as common in 20 or 30 years, but it will still be a viable option for a long time.
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Old 07-16-2010, 05:06 PM   #7
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Traditional books didn't survive the papyrus and parchment age. Real books should be chiseled itno stone.

Traditional books didn't survive the codex age. Real books should be on multi-meter-long scrolls.

Traditional books didn't survive the printing age. Real books should be meticulously hand-lettered by monks.

Traditional books didn't survive the cheap paperback age. Penny dreadfuls destroyed literature.

I feel like writing ... anyone got a hammer and chisel?
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Old 07-16-2010, 05:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kali Yuga View Post
Fiction, probably not. However, just about any oversized book -- particularly art books and some textbooks -- will probably always do better in paper format.
In a hundred years? I'm more likely to believe in direct neural feeds than in coffee table books being common then. Yes, as long as humans exist in something not too changed from current forms, some will at least occasionally use paper books, but I think it's going to be on the order of current Americans who raise and slaughter their own meat.

Last edited by Jadon; 07-16-2010 at 05:47 PM. Reason: omitted word
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Old 07-16-2010, 06:43 PM   #9
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We were having a similar discussion on The Friday Challenge a few days ago. Now I am seriously thinking of buying a Braille typewriter and stocking up on aluminum sheets, so that my stories will have a better chance of recovery by future architects.

Although what a bunch of rabbits and cockroaches will do with stories about flying cars, I have no idea....

- M.
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Old 07-17-2010, 06:10 AM   #10
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Hundred years?
Cudos!
I envy your optimism and naivety.
Don't know about traditional books but human kind is definitely will not survive that long.
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Old 07-17-2010, 07:10 AM   #11
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Very interesting thread. It stimulates all sort of reactions and considerations. I tend to agree with Astra, if I look at it from the point of view of deserving the fate that he envision, even more than considering the perils that we have been so eagerly mounting up for our extinction.

These considerations apart, just from the point of view of the sunny side of progress, my opinion is that the electronic age will influence directly the behavior of those that love gadgets, luckily a small fraction (my self included) of the whole.

Initiatives, like the one kindly reported by seagull in the opening post, are probably promotions of the industry, to drive the attention of a qualified public toward the market.
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Old 07-18-2010, 04:38 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike L View Post
We've been hearing of the death of the traditional book for years. Not that long ago, the experts were saying that books would not survive the arrival or the World Wide Web. Before that, television was going to kill off the book. And before that, rado and the cinema.

In fact, there's a rumour that the second book printed by Guthenberg was a treatise on the crisis facing the book industry.
While I agree with you on the radio, cinema, television, and internet thing, I really do think ebooks really will eventually replace paperbacks.

I really can't see myself ever buying another paperback ever again for entertainment purposes. And when electronic books catch up with the technical book industry, then I will stop buying technical paperbacks.

Added by edit.

I don't mean to drag this topic off course, but through humor there is truth.



I know it's just comedy, but I'm pretty darn sure there were real resistance to the book by the scroll supporters.

Last edited by jblitereader; 07-18-2010 at 04:57 PM.
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Old 07-18-2010, 04:40 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Vintage Season View Post

Although what a bunch of rabbits and cockroaches will do with stories about flying cars, I have no idea....

- M.
http://content.usatoday.com/communit...from-the-faa/1
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Old 07-18-2010, 05:12 PM   #14
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I expect ebooks will eventually eliminate the mass-market paperback, and make trade paperbacks a novelty item. However, new hardcovers (even for leisure reading) will stick around for a long time, and art books & reference books will continue to be printed with no notable changes in their industries. (By "reference books," I don't mean encyclopedia, which are being challenged by internet info speeds. I mean auto manuals, knitting pattern books, game instructions, camping guidebooks--things to be used away from the computer.)

Educational books are a special niche that's facing its own problems--for a long time, publishers could count on releasing a new edition every few years to force students to buy the new version instead of the old one; the students were always looking for a way around that. Now, cheap scanners are providing it, and that industry is going to need some rethinking if it's going to survive.

Children's books will continue. Especially the ones with tactile aspects--the Hungry Caterpillar and Pat the Bunny aren't going to be digitized. And even if we get cheap, sturdy electronics for young children, some aspects of physical books will stay important. Like playing peek-a-boo, they need to learn that if you turn away from the page, and turn back, the same content will be there. (That this isn't always the case for ebooks doesn't matter. They don't have any problem learning that if you change the TV channel & turn it back, it's showing something different.) They need letters they can trace with their fingers, which only some ebook readers can provide. They need permission to draw, write & color in some books. Kids' books aren't going away, no matter how advanced our digital tech gets. (Well. For the next hundred years or so. Maybe they'll eventually learn to write with a stylus on a screen, but we've got a *long* way before that's anywhere near universal.)

And books will continue to be printed for people who don't have computers, who aren't connected online... which is, at this point, the majority of the planet. Ebooks may become like cars--"everyone" uses them, for values of "everyone" that mean "most citizens of first-world countries."
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