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Is the book a crucial cultural artifact, or just an outdated container for content?

Another interesting debate – this time authors and publishers instead of library land folks:

By  at PaidContent
“Summary: A blog post by Nick Carr about the future of the printed book touched off an epic comment debate between the author and media theorist Clay Shirky about whether the book format itself will die out and be replaced.”
Snippets:
“We may be discovering that e-books are well suited to some types of books (like genre fiction) but not well suited to other types (like nonfiction and literary fiction)… the e-book may turn out to be more a complement to the printed book, as audiobooks have long been.”
Clay “Shirky says even e-books themselves are transitional.”
“Maybe books won’t survive the transition to digital devices, any more than scrolls survived the transition to movable type… what the internet portends is not the end of the paper container of the book, but rather the way paper organized our assumptions about writing altogether.”
“Your desire to see cultural artifacts as mere technological artifacts, as “production units,” leads you to jump to the conclusion that because the narrative art of the book is resistant to digital re-formation, the narrative art is doomed to obsolescence.”
“If I’m right about this, the fate of the printed book will have less to do with competition from ebooks (at least in their ‘digital copy of print’ versions) than from competition with Longreads and New Inquiry for the time and attention of the reader of extended narratives.”
“Will books follow the epic poem into oblivion?”
Stephen

Posted on: January 29, 2013, 6:53 am Category: Uncategorized