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Good question! I don't think books are a thing of the past. They may take different forms such as electonic readers, downloads from the internet, speakable text, etc. But the basic purpose of a book is to include some kind of in depth knowledge about a subject. Contrary to popular belief, we can not receive all of the information we need on complex subjects through yahoo, book summaries, and other forms of condensed information, For example, a complex subject like the origin of the cosmos is such a large field that scientists need books in order to evaluate not only the information, but also the methods by which the information was collected. Students need to read longer fictional works because many characters and ideas cannot be fully developed in short stories. Films based on novels always need to leave something out in order to work on screen. In future generations, a book may come in some other form that paper that is bound together, but there will still need to be material that is published in some way to provide in depth knowledge.
Books can not be replaced.Even when we down load material from internet we create the hard copy in the form of a book to read and reread again.A book of poems a novel even a Shkespearean play is better appreciated only in a book form.You can not replace the Bible or Bhagavad gita and put on internet.
To understand different shades of meaning and sublime delicate thought books should be studied with utmost care and attention.A writer tries to put across his experience thought and imagination, creative abilities in the form of a book or a poem to make the reader to go through the same experience in totality.The writer clothes his thoughts in beautiful attire in the form rhythm rhyme and imagery.Such works can be appreciated only in the form of books.
Paper is a 'modern' thing. Before paper, people had to write on Vellum (stretched and dried animal skin). Before Vellum they had papyrus (very low quality paperish stuff) and before that they had to CARVE the words in stone!!! So as technology advances, mankind adopts the most efficient method of spreading the written word.
The consider the leap from writing by hand with a feather and a pot of ink to using the printing press (probably the most influential invention in the history of mankind)
Books are not a thing of the past, but paper might be soon though. And while it feels a shame to stop having these lovely tactile objects in our hands, we soon learn to love what-ever replaces them. It is the words, not the material they are written on that are important.
I bet that when Gutenberg first showed the world his 'printed' writing, lots of people said, "oh, it's inhuman, it has no warmth or feeling. I don't like it. Nasty modern change is unneccessary."
And when you look at The Book Of Kells and other gorgeous medieval, hand-written books, you can sympathise. But hand written books were so expensive that only princes and dukes could afford them. Printed books were hundreds of times cheaper and their wide availability kicked started an infomation revolution equivalent to The Internet today (which we are using to share this discussion! :-))
Books may never become obsolete, as civilized humans will always have an innate admiration for the printed word, but one medium that may see extinction is the typical American newspaper. Even now, newspapers around the country (and world) are beginning to establish net-only editions, and as younger generations turn increasingly to the internet for their information, I feel certain that we will eventually see the complete transformation of the "newspaper" into a digital format. The black and white page of the past is quickly evaporating.
I certainly hope not! I must admit I have never used a Kindle, but to me, part of the pleasure of reading is the sensory experience of having a book in your hands, turning the pages, feeling and smelling them and sticking a bookmark in them before you finish reading so you know where to pick them up next time! I can see that storing and accessing books isn't always practical, so though I can predict that books will be able to be accessed on-line, I don't predict that we will be burning books or anything like that. Horrid thought!
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