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Books' lasting power


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May 14, 2007

Books' lasting power

Stephen Baker

Since it's from the Print is Dead blog, I guess I shouldn't be surprised to see a prediction of the book's demise. It quotes Bill Gates saying that reading will go completely online. But what do you think about the logic of the conclusion:

What it comes down to is this: computers can do things that books can’t; while the only thing a book can do, that a computer can’t do, is be a book.

That, it seems to me, is precisely the reason books will be around for a while. Computers can replace some of their functions, but they cannot yet "be" books. And even if you take away the whole functionality argument--that a book has an intuitive interface, portability, no need for batteries, etc--the fact is that people like to buy things. We fill our homes with all sorts of things that are a lot less functional than a book. Cut flowers, candles, ridiculous little hand towels. So why not books?

By the way, if you are bored or depressed and just need a cheerful change of pace, check out this marvelous dancing horse.

08:16 AM

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