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Re: [BKARTS] relevance of the book in the internet age



What I have to say about books in the internet age may be mundane, but
this is a discussion I've been listening to since the 1970's with the
introduction of machine readable capabilities when I attended a
national seminar about the "Future of the Book." The speakers assured
us that in 20 years, the paper book would be obsolete.

But it is not.  That is because books are efficient.  If they were
not efficient, then they would have become obsolete, but they are
efficient, and they so they remain with us.

Books are economical to create.  They are easily distributed, easily
stored, easily accessed.  They are user friendly.  One can put down a
book and pick it up, returning to the exact place with great
efficiency.  They can be shared.  One copy can serve many.

We can write in books to take notes and mark places of interest.  We
can put a book away and come back to it 10 or 20 years later and find
that note.

Books are very legible.  They are easily carried with us.  They
withstand a huge variety of adverse conditions.  This was true 100
years ago, 200 years ago, 300 years ago.  And it will go on being
true.

Digitizing books has its uses, but is also dangerous.  How easy would
it be to alter a digitized book?  How could we tell?  How easy to
block access?  To raise the price beyond accessibility?

People can't loan out digitized books.  I think my biggest concern is
the possibility that access could become concentrated and exclusive.

So, books persist because they are efficient.  Their physical nature
safeguards accessibility.

I'm very chary of the Googles & Amazons who tout accessibility and low
cost.  If we're not careful they will end up by being the gatekeepers
of books.  So, let's watch out.


Diane Baker


On Thu, Apr 24, 2008 at 12:42 PM, Deirdre Lawrence
<Deirdre.Lawrence@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> For those interested in this topic you may want to read and possibly
>  comment to this blog:
>
>  http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/community/blogosphere/bloggers/
>
>  Best,
>  Deirdre Lawrence
>  Brooklyn Museum
>
>
>  -----Original Message-----
>  From: Book_Arts-L [mailto:BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of
>  Charles Brownson
>  Sent: Thursday, April 24, 2008 11:27 AM
>  To: BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>
>
> Subject: Re: [BKARTS] relevance of the book in the internet age
>
>  Hmm. Yes I'm familiar with Benjamin -- his concept of aura informs my
>  thinking on artists books and digital objects -- see the "studio goals"
>  tab on my website ocotilloarts.com -- and the Arcades Project is near at
>  hand for casual moments. But I hadn't thought of it in this context. Of
>  course the parallel ought to have been obvious. The authentic reading
>  experience requires a paper book, while those who can't afford
>  authenticity make do with a digital simulacrum. The difficulty is, what
>  Benjamin wouldn't have seen the point of looking into, why are these
>  tastes, these  definitions of authentic in the absence of a hegemony, so
>  persistent?  I was thinking of the tendency of material technology to
>  hang on way past its usefulness and I wondered if someone writing from
>  another context had anything to say.
>    Haven't had an opportunity to scrute WOID yet.
>  Charles
>  exchange@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>
>
>  ----- Original Message ----
>  From: Paul T Werner <paul.werner@xxxxxxx>
>  To: BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>  Sent: Thursday, April 24, 2008 5:53:27 AM
>  Subject: [BKARTS] relevance of the book in the internet age
>
>  Well Charles, you could start with Walter Benjamin's "The Work of Art in
>  the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" - but I suspect that's not what you
>  want to hear...
>
>  Paul Werner, New York
>  http://theorangepress.com
>
>  WOID: A journal of visual language
>  THE ORANGE PRESS, publishing "Vellum Preparation: History and Technique"
>  DRAGONSBLOOD AND ASHES, a project to research and practice the
>  techniques of the medieval scribe
>
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                      Book_Arts-L FAQ and Archive.
         See <http://www.philobiblon.com> for full information.
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