The historian Robert Darnton has written an excellent piece for the most recent New York Review of Books, The Library in the New Age, looking at the internet from a book history perspective and analyzing the future of libraries and special collections in the digital age. He concludes that the advent of digital information is not as revolutionary as some would have us believe and explains the many reasons traditional libraries will remain just as important in the future as they have been in previous eras. Highly recommended, not only for book people but also for anyone interested in the history and philosophy of the internet.
We have discussed alternative ways of delivering the content of books before, including the Kindle, e-books, libraries and online swap systems. But Steve Jobs of Apple says it is all for naught; “It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore… The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.”
Discussion has begun in the comments as to the future of reading, whether ebooks or physical books are superior, what’s more environmentally friendly, etc.