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Archive for April 2009

Is the book on life support? Newspapers are folding left and right - not that many people care. Independent bookstores are closing or being bought up (Shades of You've Got Mail!)or being usurped by Amazon. Audio book suppliers such as Audiobooks.org, Audible.com, librivox.org, and gutenberg.org provide books for the audio-phile (free if the book is public domain in some cases). And it's especially easy if you've got a Kindle sitting around your couch next to the remote.kindle.jpg

But what of the old-fashioned paper-bound book? Are we buying more or fewer books? I think the generation that turned 18 this year will buy fewer paper books. They are the generation that is used to looking up everything in wikipedia (and believing what they read), reading from a computer monitor, cell phone, or game console, and not buying books.

Therefore, will those involved in bookbinding and the book arts perserve the book much as monks did with scrolls in the Middle Ages? A beautifully bound book is more than the words inside it. A beautifully bound book is something people will want to show off, to put on their coffee tables, to brag about. And, perhaps, read. The next 25 to 50 years will be interesting to watch; I hope I'm around that long.

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