future of the book: as artifacts

The New York Times covers the new XKCD book:

So, are we seeing an all-too-rare example of the triumph of print books over digital content? Does even an online legend like the 24-year-old Mr. Munroe crave the respectability of print? (Mr. Munroe once before climbed the respectability ladder when in October he competed against the illustrator Farley Katz of The New Yorker in a “cartoon-off.” No winner was declared.)

In fact, the xkcd story previews the much more likely future of books in which they are prized as artifacts, not as mechanisms for delivering written material to readers. This is print book as vinyl record — admired for its look and feel, its cover art, and relative permanence — but not so much for convenience.

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One Response to future of the book: as artifacts

  1. Oncomouse says:

    All of this stuff makes me wonder if there will be any record of post 2001 culture in 100 years:

    Raymond Kurzweil, in _The Singularity Is Near_, has a bit about how he can’t access data from ten years ago because they are on tape and he can’t find a working tape drive. He then turns around and says that we should be digitizing more things! The blindness many people show towards this problem is something that troubles me about digital culture.

    This is why, for me, the whole debate about eBooks is really missing the point: more than just content delivery, books serve as records of our history and existence.

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