E-books are no books

“I’m sorry to have to tell you that books are now considered an endangered species. By books, I also mean the conditions of reading that make possible literature and its soul effects. Soon, we are told, we will call up on “bookscreens” any “text” on demand, and will be able to change its appearance, ask questions of it, “interact” with it. When books become “texts” that we “interact” with according to criteria of utility, the written word will have become simply another aspect of our advertising-driven televisual reality. This is the glorious future being created, and promised to us, as something more “democratic”. Of course, it means nothing less then the death of inwardness – and of the book. This time around, there will be no need for a great conflagration. The barbarians don’t have to burn the books. The tiger is in the library. “

-Susan Sontag, Where the Stress Falls via The floating library

E-books are supposed to replace paper books in the end ,mere book-screens which will bring any book on demand,as also give you the ability to speak to portions of it ,i.e. They will enable you to potentially break the silence of the words.Words which have lain quiet in the pages of the book for years will now be forced to speak,reply to your answers, recant if necessary on what they have already said while in the burial mode. The authors words have lost their final say.What they say will be subject to newer interpretations ,available not in the reader’s unspoken minds but right there on the screen, to be reinforced and revised as more readers apply their minds to it.

Will the paper books remain ? Looks like they will. There will always be some who prefer the last word as from the author.Wouldn’t one sometimes like the monotone of an author’s drone? And then what happens to the barbarians? Where will they go to burn? Well , they can now burn life-sized effigies of the authors in the city squares.


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