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Books getting extinct?


Looks like I start to like English blog entries. :)

Today we did a short writing exercise in an English lesson at school. More or less as voluntary homework I wrote a short statement about the following topic:

Some media experts claim that one day books are likely “to go the way of the dinosaur”.

I really like topics about information (structure, flow, sharing, whatever) and therefore I just want to share some of my thoughts on this with the rest of the digital world:

In my opinion books will not follow the way of the dinosaurs in the way that they get extinct. Books are used for several purposes right now like archiving, information sharing and entertainment.

To archive information modern digital media like the internet or databases are way more efficient. Books cannot be copied easily and have to be preserved with extreme caution to not get unreadable within several decades. Digital information however can be copied and regenerated within just a few milliseconds and more important for archiving: searching digital data takes just some seconds instead of days or months required to search through most paper based archives. In this area books will surely loose their purpose if they not already have.

It's almost the same for the task of information sharing though books, especially in the scientific or technical sectors. Most of these books are already outdated before they are printed or distributed around the globe. In this area digital information also takes out books because of the same features described in the previous paragraph and by the fact that digital information can be distributed around the world just within seconds.

However things are looking different in the entertainment sector. Novels or other forms of literature are not getting outdated to fast and it's not important to search though them. They are only read a few times to entertain the reader and are not used as references. Books are also more comfortable to read. For example reading a novel at a PC screen is quite boring while reading it on a sofa or in a bed is a way better experience. In contrast to mobile devices like Notebooks or PDAs paper based text stays readable even under extreme light conditions. While it's hard to clearly read anything on a Notebook directly hit by sunshine paper based text stays perfectly readable. Thanks to the high light reflection rate of paper a book can also be read with just a dim light around while screen devices will dazzle the reader in an uncomfortable way. Books can also be read without requiring special devices to decode the information and therefore do not require energy. In my personal opinion this is the area where books will not lose any of their popularity in the foreseeable future.

It's not really detailed but I think it's ok for a short overview. I honestly like English lessons that way.

3 comments for this post

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#1 by

Hehe, what a nice surprise! I wrote this test in last years final exam, along with a Cartoon (http://www.cagle.com/working/061023/chappatte.gif) I needed to describe. And I can also tell you a funny anecdote. Some students (not me!) translated the three words "one day books" to something like "Eintagesbücher" (books that only exist for one day), which is of course complete nonsense and led to a very crazy assay :D

#2 by
Stephan Soller

Yep, this were the tasks from last years test. I also wrote some words about that cartoon but 100 words are way to less for this one. Our English teacher also told us about the "funny" interpretations of this topic. :)

#3 by

I think its pretty annoying when some books of the classical studies aren´t printed anymore and you have to call to a collective petition towards the publisher that he may print it again…otherwise you will never get to that information. In addition I never buy books when I´m working with primary/original texts, which are to be translated because I always have to make some notes and markings so that I mostly copy the book-version of the institution-library. Imagine how cheap it would be to replace all books in the university by digital versions of them which every student could upload to his palm or something… The decreasing library costs would also affect students. (fees for studying) But one thing speaks for books: If I´m translating a text, I have at least 4-5 books open (one encyclopedia, a dictionary, a mythologic lexicon, a grammar book) Its simply more comfortable to have 4 books open at one time which you cannot do with a digital viewer (unless you have 4 of them :) ) So these are "tool"-books, I need them for the next 5 years so its worth buying them. But it makes sense for the so called "one day books" or secondary literature (no quotation errors anymore if you c&p quotations directly from your palm into your research paper in word) yeyeye english is fun :)

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