I have been asking recently whether a book is still a good container for knowledge. I recently watched a TEDxMontreal video, that really demonstrated that I was asking the wrong question. The question is whether the distinction between the Internet and eBooks is arbitrary and false. To further explain, is an eBook that incorporates video still a book? Is an eBook with audio still a book? In library school we debated whether audiobooks were books, but are they? What about an eBook whose content updates as the world updates? What is the difference between an eJournal article and an eBook? Is a YouTube video television? Is email mail? Should we continue to divide up knowledge based on old formats?
Hugh McGuire in the video I mentioned (which is displayed below) argues that all of these medias are blurring together and that the future will make it virtual impossible to distinguish between the formats. I certainly am inclined to think he may have a valid point. What will we use in the future to determine whether something is a book, video, audio? Will it be percentage? Will it be intent? Will it be usage? Will everything just converge into the Internet? I don’t really have an answer, but the question is still worth asking.
4 responses to “The eBook Will Die Within 5 Years”
The three examples he cites are three different things. Project Gutenberg digitalizes “books.” None of it is interactive. The Bible application that allows 70 million morons to rant on each verse is perhaps the most worthless thing in the entire world though the feature that links it to other translations is useful. The maps linked to Sir Robert Scott’s journals are interesting, but ultimately just illustrations that are too expensive to print. The book is fundamentally different from the blog (e.g.) not because the blog is simply ego and noise, but because of the processes of vetting and control. A book is vetted by _qualified_ editors, publishers and reviewers and remains under the control of the author/publisher because of legal copyright. No one vets a blog and the control of most sites passes from author to anybody with a web site. I once traced back misinformation on the significance of the carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas. Some moron posted a wacko interpretation that spread all over the internet. I went to an older book published by Oxford to research the song.
I would agree. By in large, print books go through a vetting process. However eBooks from Amazon, Apple etc…, do not necessarily go through a similar process. As authors continue to move to direct publishing, the line print eBook and Internet content becomes less clear. Something we will have to deal with.
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