karen_w_newton (karen_w_newton) wrote,

Thunder lizards roar no more

I have often used the term “the evolution of books,” but I am wondering how literal that phrase will turn out to be. When I think about evolution, I think of it as having two paradigms: apes vs. humans, and dinosaurs vs. mammals.

With apes and humans, we came from the same genetic stock, and we're both still around. Yeah, there are a heck of a lot more humans than apes, but until very recently, apes did fine in their natural setting and were in no danger of going extinct. It's only in the last 100 years than humanity has seriously threatened their existence.

I don't know about you, but I haven't seen any dinosaurs lately— unless you count crocodiles and alligators. The dinos had their day (okay, it was more like millennia), but when things went bad for them, mammals pretty well took over.

So, I'm wondering whether print books will be apes, surviving fine so long as no one trashes their habitat, or will they be tyrannosaurs, withering away as the climate change leaves them holding the wrong end of a broken food chain. Is the eReader a giant asteroid threatening the print book's world, rocketing in to leave a huge crater and darken the publishing sky for years? And if you don't think eReaders are going to have an impact, you haven't look at book sales and eReader sales lately. I consider the Kindle the most significant not so much because it's selling best (right now), but because the guy who started Amazon— an online marketplace for books— so obviously thinks digital publishing is the near future. Amazon is not only selling Kindles front and center on their home page, they just applied for a patent for a digital pen.

I prefer the apes vs. humans scenario. No reason we can't all get along.

Tags: e-books, ebooks

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