Saturday, March 5, 2011


In my article Mixed Feelings I wrote about inevitable decline of printed books. Sadly everyday I see evidence of my prophecy being verified.

Angus & Robertson and Borders bookstores are closing down.

We are loosing forever that romance, that warm feeling of visiting a nearby bookstore and simply browsing books for pleasure.

In middle ages for a decent copy of a book or a manuscript an average urban wage earner had to pay at least a quarter of his annual income. For peasants buying or even seeing or touching a book was an impossible dream.

Within a millennium the cost diminished by a factor of 1000.

For many hundreds of years despite endless catastrophes, fires, burnings, wear and tear, paper continued to carry the knowledge of humanity which is estimated to be around 10 EB (1 exa-byte is 10 to the power of 18).

And now like LP records we are beginning to see books thrown into the corners of moldy second hand bookshops.

On the upside e-books will easily be accessible and transportable. E-book will continue to carry the flag it took over from its overweight but humble cousin.

I still think socialising is a big part of book reading experience.

Perhaps it is time to design new bookstores (e-book stations) with Wi-Fi access, comfy chairs, coffee and cookies, smooth background music.

Patrons sit down, relax, chat, review, download and buy e-books in special discounted prices.

On the walls of the e-book station images of authors shifting, instants from their life are projected, Tolstoy in his farm, Hemingway in Africa.

In that corner a famous author is digitally signing his newest e-book which is automatically downloaded and overlaid in e-books of his audience.


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