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Monday, October 18, 2010

The book is dead 



Philip Dodd's radio debate on the future of the book in the era of e-readers holds no surprises. But it's still entertaining to listen to an exploration of familiar positions. From print nostalgia to digital utopia the viewpoints are clearly presented. David Almond is the most plausable as he acknowledges that the significance or pleasure of the book is distinct or deeper than its material form. He also recognises the creative possibilities of new kinds of writing and reading without being too quick to claim that the book is dead. On the other side of the fence, the print nostalgics feel they have history on their side and their arguments are based on the materiality of the book. The fixity and durability of print text is seasoned with plenty of reference to the aesthetic and multisensory qualities of bundles of inked paper that have been glued together. Perhaps for now the both/and arguments are the most sensible. I was interested in an audience contribution on how e-readers might be used as part of a lending library services. Perhaps Amazon's aggressive marketing of the Kindle is poised to challenge the nature of everyday reading.

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