Is the future going out of print? Why we’re confident books will survive the digital age

Robert Fulford | June 6, 2016 2:59 PM ET

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The philosopher Francis Bacon, looking out at the future from his vantage point in the English 17th century, said that everyone should consider the effect of three inventions that were unknown in ancient times: Printing, gunpowder and the compass. “These three have changed the appearance and state of the whole world.”

Printing was the innovation Bacon put first, and the one that concerns us most in 2016. Printing made the modern era possible by disseminating the books that opened new ways of thinking and encouraged new human aspirations. Under the influence of printing, the Protestant Reformation, the Renaissance and modern science all sprang to life. It was a revolution – “the Unacknowledged Revolution,” as one modern historian called it because (despite Bacon) most of the world didn’t understand what was happening.

Today, on the other hand, we know the change that confronts us. The printing era shows signs of coming to an end. Bookstores everywhere are closing down because many people prefer to read books in digital form or perhaps prefer not to read. What is at stake? Literacy, literature and the culture of books, with its vast libraries and its flourishing (but often unprofitable) publishers. All of it is in danger. Read more…

 

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New PEW: Younger Americans’ Library Habits and Expectations – Stephen’s Lighthouse

New PEW: Younger Americans’ Library Habits and Expectations – Stephen’s Lighthouse.

Younger Americans’ Library Habits and Expectations

by , and

Summary of Findings

http://libraries.pewinternet.org/2013/06/25/younger-americans-library-services/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=younger-americans-library-services

Younger Americans—those ages 16-29—exhibit a fascinating mix of habits and preferences when it comes to reading, libraries, and technology. Almost all Americans under age 30 are online, and they are more likely than older patrons to use libraries’ computer and internet connections; however, they are also still closely bound to print, as three-quarters (75%) of younger Americans say they have read at least one book in print in the past year, compared with 64% of adults ages 30 and older.

Similarly, younger Americans’ library usage reflect a blend of traditional and technological services. Americans under age 30 are just as likely as older adults to visit the library, and once there they borrow print books and browse the shelves at similar rates. Large majorities of those under age 30 say it is  “very important” for libraries to have librarians as well as books for borrowing, and relatively few think that libraries should automate most library services, move most services online, or move print books out of public areas.

At the same time, younger library visitors are more likely than older patrons to access the library’s internet or computers or use the library’s research resources, such as databases. And younger patrons are also significantly more likely than those ages 30 and older to use the library as a study or “hang out” space: 60% of younger patrons say they go to the library to study, sit and read, or watch or listen to media, significantly more than the 45% of older patrons who do this. And a majority of Americans of all age groups say libraries should have more comfortable spaces for reading, working, and relaxing. Read more….

Expect More : Driving Innovation , Community , Success , & Scalability. Stephen Abram, MLS. Edmonton Public Library Trustees February 12, 2013

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