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The End Of The Printed Book?

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posted on Jan, 21 2007 @ 02:40 AM
The executives of Google among many others were at a conference called Unbound. There was discussed the digitize of the great libraries of the world. To that end many fear and believe that this will mean the end of the printed book. Googles stated mission, "to organize the worlds information and make it universally accessible and useful" still has a long ways to go, but there is progress on the horizon for digitizing books. Google has a deal with five libraries to digitize there stock of books and make them available on line through Google book.
The world's libraries are heading for the internet, says Bryan Appleyard. If this means we lose touch with real books and treat their content as 'information', civilisation is the loser

‘The majority of information,” said Jens Redmer, director of Google Book Search in Europe, “lies outside the internet.”

Redmer was speaking last week at Unbound, an invitation-only conference at the New York Public Library (NYPL). It was a groovy, bleeding-edge-of-the-internet kind of affair. There was Chris Anderson, editor of Wired magazine and author of The Long Tail, a book about the new business economics of the net. There was Arianna Huffington, grand panjandrum of both the blogosphere and smart East Coast society.

But this wasn’t just another jolly. There were also publishers and Google execs, two groups of people who might one day soon be fighting for their professional lives before the Supreme Court.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

I wonder what gootenberg would think about this. Like any one else I know the Internet and digital storage has been replace much of printed word. That has not always been a bad thing. Must less space needed for storage of data. This has been happening all the way back to when the U.S. census ordered there first computer. And now books in libraries will be going digital, it was bound to happen. I, however don't think this will mean the end of the printed book just yet. When on the net I tend to skim things until I find something I want to read. When I have a novel I read everything. To date I have not read novels on the computer, but as this article shows, that may soon change.

Related News Links:

[edit on 21-1-2007 by UM_Gazz]

posted on Jan, 21 2007 @ 08:49 AM
I can not sit and read books in the INTERNET in front of a computer.

When I buy a book is because I am interested on only on the content but because sitting down reading is relaxing.

I am against digitalizing all information, because this can make possible for less than scrupulous people out there manipulate information more easily.

No, I do not agree with getting rid of books and printed material at all.

posted on Jan, 21 2007 @ 09:07 AM
To each his or her own, I suppose. Personally, reading a book online is, I don't know, so impersonal. You should be able to feel the paper, admire the binding, the artistry of the illustrations. Digitized books and information have a place, I use it all the time. But I prefer books, and walking down to the library anyday.

I'll agree with Marg.

posted on Jan, 21 2007 @ 09:12 AM
The book will never be replaced by the internet.

I say this because of the many publications which are already available online have proved to be much more enjoyable printed out and read in comfortable positions, like on a couch in front of a fireplace, a nice hot bath or bed.

Until the computer is thin and light as a paperback novel, the tendency will always be to own a book as a unit. I doubt many would download and print up 400-500 pages of a book (as I do regularly) from the internet just to read it at their leisure. The cost of printing ink is also a consideration (I know that for certain).

Recently I purchased a large format book on Himalayan pre-Buddhist Shamanism complete with about 200 full page images of Thangkas. Try printing that up!

One good thing about putting the worlds publications online will be to peruse and cherry pick material while surfing in order to research possible future purchases.

Another will be the ineffectiveness of 'censure'. All those wishing to 'remove' authors from libraries/bookstores because they, for different reasons, disagree with what is presented by the author will be thwarted.

Catcher in the Rye, Grapes of Wrath and Tom Sawyer will live forever!

posted on Jan, 21 2007 @ 09:50 AM
Well first off, FYI - dude's name was Gutenberg, not Goot...

Second, the short answer to the question posed by your title - No, this does not herald the end of the printed word anymore than the pen heralded the end of the pencil.

There are a number of logical reasons to preserve the written word, and a couple more ephemeral ones that are, nonetheless, factors which must be considered.

One concrete reason to preserve hard copies is that data corruption is a fact of life, as anyone who works with computers knows all too well. If there's software out there that doesn't glitch/crash/bug out, I'd like to know about it. With the printed word that isn't necessarily an issue (depending on the medium, 'ink' and 'language' - wood pulp vs. cotton rag vs. vinyl vs. solid gold, etc., ink vs. oil paint vs. acid etching, and so on).

Forgetting software, the hardware is touch-and-go as well. Once a book is printed, it takes a lot more than a momentary fluctuation in current or temperature or humidity to change what's on the page. Most modern, so-called permanent electronic data storage devices are anything but - they wear out a lot faster than books as a matter of fact, require more upkeep, and are generally harder to maintain in good, working condition.

I'm no luddite, and I think it makes perfect sense to maintain and disseminate digital copies of important writings, to both increase availability and preserve integrity - it can be a lot easier than maintaining thousands of physical copies in storage, a lot cheaper, and they can be shared/moved with greater ease.

I realize survival isn't the thrust of this thread, but I thought it a worthwhile tangent. If/when the lights go out and people are forced to turn back the lifestyle clock to several hundred years ago, a single book on blanket weaving or dye preparation or home construction or hunting or skinning/tanning or philosophy or battle tactics will be worth more than thousands of multi-terabyte hard drives full of data on every subject imaginable.

CDs/DVDs/CD-R(W)s are not a viable method of storage - the discs decay (how fast is up for debate, I've read statements of experts in the field stating as little as two years from date of manufacture, while the manufacturers claim 100 years of viability). The answer is probably somewhere in between - and that's in storage, forget about regular use (the average life of a CD/DVD is about 3.5 years
) So that leaves you one (1) longterm option, multiple, redundant 'live' (powered/maintained) storage networks, a series of hard drives left plugged in, basically.

Finally, with the standard written word, one can at least hope that later civilizations will have the ability to translate the data from stone or gold (or vinyl), and garner some wisdom out of your effort. What are future archeologists going to do with a dusty old removable drive, or a RAID bank that hasn't had juice in several hundred (or several thousand) years?

Those are just a couple of the practical reasons why we shouldn't do away with books in our mad scramble towards the future. I'm not saying we shouldn't take advantage of new technologies, but we shouldn't overestimate them, or underestimate tried and true methods (like books).

Anyway, practical concerns aside, there are plenty of bibliophiles still left roaming the earth (I should know, I am one).

I love books. I live in a veritable library because I want to be surrounded by them. I grew up with them, I live with them and, God willing, I'll die with them. They mean more to me than computers ever could, and to a great extent, they mean more to me than the information they convey.

I read constantly, books and internet both, and while I prefer the speed and accessibility of the internet for day-to-day reference and catching up on current events, things like that, reading on a computer screen can't compare to the feeling of a book in many instances.

So, there are a multitude of reasons, tangible and intangible, why books are here to stay, IMO.

[edit on 21-1-2007 by WyrdeOne]

posted on Jan, 21 2007 @ 09:53 AM
*adjusts tinfoil hat*

I don't like this idea one bit.
It sends shivers down my spine to think there is any attempt to control what we can hold in our hands and read.
First google digitizing, next the books disappear, are lost, damaged or sealed off from citizens.
Brave New World meets the Dark Ages.

And, like many of the other posters here, I so enjoy reading a real book.

posted on Jan, 21 2007 @ 10:17 AM
i know what you are on about, i can never get into reading a book on the computer, maybe they will find one of those mini devices in the future where reading books on it may work.

of course you can always print things of on to paper, this is what i do if i want to read something long.

i wonder what will happen to books, i was listening to c2c with john lear and they said some authors book was out of print and they were selling on amazon for like $400, some remote viewer for a government program or something.

where compuetrs will be in 20 years time is anyones guess, but we are all heading into this brave new world thingy, might not be as far of as some thought.

posted on Jan, 21 2007 @ 12:00 PM
I like this idea because it gives me access to so much information that would be unavailable to me if I had to purchase a hardcopy of it.

Newspapers are a good example - by the time an issue makes it to press, there have usually been several updates to the information in it.

But there is a definite need for documents to be retained on hardcopy. Birth certificates, deeds, and other things come to mind.

Novels, also, were meant to be enjoyed at our leisure, as masqua pointed out - in a tub, in bed, on your couch.

Plus, books are so useful to balance that couch with the one broken leg.


posted on Jan, 21 2007 @ 12:35 PM
The electronic book won't truely take off until there is some sort of personal reading device that the public accepts and endorses. Currently there is only one practical option, the Sony Book Reader... and it's a piece of junk according to all the reviews. Apple is rumored to be developing one as well.

Until then I'll continue to do what I've been doing... printing out my books and binding them myself.

posted on Jan, 21 2007 @ 12:53 PM
I don't think that this (or anything else in the near future) will be the end of the printed book.

I am not one of those people who like the feel of the "real" book, that is why I almost only read books in electronic format on my PocketPC. It's smaller than a pocket-sized book and I find it easier to hold than a real book when I read in bed.

When the first digital cameras started to appear many people said that it would be the end of conventional photography, but this case is different, with the digital cameras what turned digital was the way of producing the photo, not the way to show it. People are still printing the digital photos they take to show to other people or to use where they want.

Also, if this involves Google it is only "natural" that the media makes this "a big thing" because Google is supposed to be "a good thing", when in fact they have done nothing special in any way, they are only overrated.

posted on Jan, 21 2007 @ 06:47 PM
Thanks for all the great feedback everybody!

In the same way that television did not replace the silver screen I don't think the book will go away. We all know how much news is available hear but newspapers have not gone away yet.
The pocket computer or book reader seems to be the greatest threat. This seems to be coming so the next few years may prove critical to how many printed books we will see in the future.

posted on Jan, 21 2007 @ 07:58 PM
I don't have much constructive to say right now, but I remember seeing this great flash presentation online, which looked at both sides of this issue in-depth. I dont have a link, but I'll try and dig it up.

posted on Jan, 21 2007 @ 08:33 PM
I agree with the general sentiment that the printed book is not going away until someone can make a reader that has the same intimacy as a book. I have seen, for example, next generation televisions that are less than a millimeter thick. If it were possible to make a book of these leafs as pages, then you could read whatever book you wanted using the same packet of screens.

Of course, I would prefer paper books because I like to scribble in mine.

There were one or two people who argued that having books in electronic format makes it easier to change their content and confuse people. My response to this is to take a look at the Bible, which was edited, translated, and reinterpreted throughout history. If people are interested in manipulating information, they can do it if they try hard enough. Unfortunately.

posted on Jan, 21 2007 @ 08:35 PM

Originally posted by ArMaP
When the first digital cameras started to appear many people said that it would be the end of conventional photography, but this case is different, with the digital cameras what turned digital was the way of producing the photo, not the way to show it. People are still printing the digital photos they take to show to other people or to use where they want.

I agree. Look at what happens when new technology comes: the old way becomes nostalgic and more revered. It's like sitting by candlelight: you don't have to do it anymore, but isn't there something that connects you to the past when you do it?

posted on Jan, 22 2007 @ 02:49 AM
It's hard on my neck trying to read a lot online. But I still read a lot online. I still have an inclination to read a book.

If you can make a small book sized computer and if I can place it at a comfortable distance and be able to read it much like I would a book, and the screen is comfortable to look at for extended periods of time, I would probably like reading a digital book more.

I don't mind having digitized volumes of information. It's great, it takes up tiny amounts of space. It just needs to be redundantly stored, so you have multiple copies. Hard copies should also be kept to ensure accuracy of information, in the event that there is corruption or doubts.


posted on Jan, 22 2007 @ 04:32 AM
I find reading books online a bizarre experience. It doesnt feel right.
I fidget, feel trapped and bound to the computer, my eyes ache after a while,
my mind wanders and all of a sudden I want to be anywhere , except in front of the computer reading the book!!

I've started digitising my favourite books of interest that I regularly get from the library. I scan them and download them to disc. I then either a) return them to the library or b) sell them, if its a book I've bought.

I've found that I really dont have any room left to store my books and so scanning and burning them off to cd is the only option left to me.
But, this is totally different to all books being available that way originally.
I enjoy sitting in the sun or on the porch snuggled up with a book.
Nothing can ever replace the experience of actually having the book in your hands.

Not to mention that libraries are free. If books become internet based and libraries close, the likes of google could then charge per view. Free reading would then go the way of the do-do bird. Not good if you ask me.

posted on Jan, 22 2007 @ 06:57 AM
Books are like lovers, they have to smell right and you have to comfortable enough with them to let them stay overnight in your bed.

Glad to see it's still cost efficient to store information on books. It's looking like cave walls will be first and longest lasting.

posted on Jan, 22 2007 @ 06:16 PM

Originally posted by Togetic
I have seen, for example, next generation televisions that are less than a millimeter thick.

I know they have been getting thinner but do you have a link for info on this?

posted on Jan, 23 2007 @ 05:22 PM

Originally posted by Togetic
Of course, I would prefer paper books because I like to scribble in mine.

That is one of the reasons I like the Microsoft Reader format for my e-books, it lets you highlight text, add bookmarks and add text or drawing as notes.

Originally posted by cybertroy
If you can make a small book sized computer and if I can place it at a comfortable distance and be able to read it much like I would a book, and the screen is comfortable to look at for extended periods of time, I would probably like reading a digital book more.

This is what I have been using for 4 1/2 years and I have no complains (except the famous bug that makes it think it has only 1% battery when it reaches 50%)

And yes, that is what I am reading at the moment, "Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes".

posted on Jan, 23 2007 @ 05:49 PM

Originally posted by ArMaP

And yes, that is what I am reading at the moment, "Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes".

Does look like a neat little device Armap, thanks for showing us what it looks like.

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