Thursday, December 18, 2008

Print is Dead (Books in Our Digital Age) - post I

As you read the introduction you find that you are nodding your head as Gomez points out that the world has fundamentally changed as a result of technology. But he is clear about the boundaries of his study but keeps making reference to the educational and legal issues surrounding e-books and the Google moves to disseminate them.

That has the unfortunate impact of making you wonder if that is not a debate that is an interesting and slightly hotter because of its currency in the current debate about digital literature.

Still back to Print is Dead and the message seems to be that things have changed and there is no stopping them and although the book brigade argue that there is nothing that can top the design and experience they are fighting against an unstoppable tide. He makes none of the judgments that Birkerts makes about whether that is good or bad but comments that it is a fact.

The first chapter establishes the impact of the Mp3 on music and concludes that a similar change is going to happen with books.

“To see where words are headed, simply follow the evolution of music’s various technological leaps from one format to another: wax cylinder, vinyl, eight track, cassette, compact disc, MiniDisc, Mp3. What’s important to note in this sequence is that the last format - Mp3- doesn’t necessarily exist. It’s a file format, a way of digitizing and storing information. It’s not a physical thing that you necessarily hold or trade…the majority of printed material will eventually undergo a similar transformation, ending up as a digital file instead of a physical thing.” Page 16

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