Should we fear a world without books?

Christina Paulston paulston at pitt.edu
Tue Jan 27 15:23:28 UTC 2009


They said that movies would become obsolete with the arrival of TV.   
But the movie industry is doing just fine  -- if maybe not in  
quality.  Christina


On Jan 26, 2009, at 11:01 PM, Dennis Baron wrote:

> There's a new post on the Web of Language: Should we fear a world  
> without books?
>
> Critics of the digital revolution warn that we're racing headlong  
> into a world without books. I'm a big book fan myself, yet I wonder,  
> as I read their critiques on my computer, is that such a bad thing?
>
> After all, no technology is forever. Remember 8-track? Betamax?  
> Writing technology moves on, too. The book replaced the scroll. The  
> scroll replaced the clay tablet. Before that, there were inscribed  
> tokens and oracle bones. And if e-text is crowding out conventional  
> print, isn't digitizing just another, newer way to represent the  
> written word? Maybe it's time to shelve that book and move on.
>
> Not according to the defenders of printed books, who believe that  
> the written word comes to life only on physical pages, preferably  
> pages bound together in book form – objects that readers can touch,  
> heft and savor; objects that take more than thirty seconds to read;  
> objects that force us to think about what they mean. In comparison,  
> virtual words are just shadow writing.
>
> Books give hour after hour of enlightenment, whereas reading on  
> screen, with its short texts, distracting graphics, and click-me  
> hyperlinks, is no substitute for the quiet, sustained, reflective  
> reading that is the special province of analog books.
>
> There's some truth in these arguments, but only some. . . .
>
> Is the book as we know it an endangered species? Read on, on
>
> the Web of Language: http://illinois.edu/goto/weboflanguage
>
>
>
> ____________________
> Dennis Baron
> Professor of English and Linguistics
> Department of English
> University of Illinois
> 608 S. Wright St.
> Urbana, IL 61801
>
> office: 217-244-0568
> fax: 217-333-4321
>
> http://illinois.edu/goto/debaron
>
> read the Web of Language:
> http://illinois.edu/goto/weboflanguage
>
>
>
>
>
>
>

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