Saturday, September 27, 2014

Book Blogger Hop September 26th - October 2nd: The Third Slave Uprising, Which Was Led by Spartacus, Was Crushed in 71 B.C.

Book Blogger Hop

Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Stephanie of Books Are Cool asks (via Billy): How will be reading in 100 year's time? Will there be any printed books left? How about e-readers? What might they look like?

To a certain extent, this question is impossible to really answer, as there will almost certainly be technologies in 2114 that we can't even conceive of now. Think of the world of 1914, and what their technology looked like for comparison to the present: They could not have imagined personal computers, cell phones, e-readers, or many of the other technologies we take for granted today. The entire era of the pay phone passed as the technology grew into adulthood and faded into obsolescence between 1914 and 2014. Now extrapolate that trend out another hundred years. In short, almost anything one were to say today will probably be regarded as laughably silly in one hundred years.

That said, I'm reasonably sure that printed books will still be made, for two reasons. The first is because of the truth contained in the observation that "the future is here, it is just distributed unevenly". No matter what technological progress takes place over the next one hundred years, there will be places where that progress has not been integrated into the local culture. As much as one might want to believe that the world one hundred years from now will be an egalitarian paradise in which no one lives in comparatively primitive conditions, experience tells us that this is likely not to be the case. There will be parts of the world where modern technology will have entered use only sparingly, if at all. And in those places, books will not be a quaint throwback to an earlier day, they will be current, cutting-edge technology. The second reason is simply this: Printed books are simply too useful to ever cease to exist. They don't require power to work. They are relatively easy to make, store, and transport. They don't require another piece of technology to make them function. Their format never becomes incompatible with current e-readers. And so on. There are a lot of advantages to storing books electronically, but there will always be advantages to having physical copies of books as well.

As far as e-readers go, I'll suggest that perhaps they will not even exist as a separate piece of technology any more. The trend in technology seems to be merging different things into one device - witness the merging of cameras, which were once an almost ubiquitous personal possession, with cell phones. Comparatively few people now have (or need) a separate camera to take either photographs or videos. I predict that much the same thing will happen to e-readers, and they will cease to exist except as a function found on a multipurpose device. This isn't that bold of a prediction as to a certain extent it is happening already - most e-readers come equipped with other functions already, but I'm reasonably certain that this process will only accelerate. I hope that e-reader formats will become more standardized across platforms, but I have limited confidence that this will happen, and even less confidence that this will be relevant in 2014.

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