Two recently published titles focus not on the fatalistic claims that we are closing in on ‘the end of the book’, but rather examine what the future holds for books, in both the private and public sectors.
In This Is Not the End of the Book, Umberto Eco and Jean-Claude Carriere have a lively intellectual discussion about books, “reading, the Internet, book collecting and odd byways of literary and cinematic history.” Michael Dirda reviewed the book in the Washinton Post on Friday, and it sounds like a highly engaging and interesting read.
David Culbert, President of the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies (FABS), also just edited a book on a corresponding subject. The Future of the Books & the Public Interest, published by the William Clements Library at the University of Michigan in conjunction with FABS, is a collection of essays and includes a thoughtful introduction by Mr. Culbert.
The “end of the book” is an understandable concern, as technology advances and the publishing industry and very modes of reading change, but still a ridiculous notion in the eyes of this bibliophile– the book isn’t going to disappear as a relic of the past! These advances and changes in the literary landscape will affect how we read, though, and how we view the book as a physical object. In my opinion, the emphasis on the physicality of books will only increase because of these changes– a plus for booksellers, especially those dealing in rare and antiquarian material!