Thursday, October 17, 2013

The End of Books..... An article from the August 1894 Scribner's Magazine

Are books dead? We hear that all the time today. Today with audio books and all kinds of electronic devices to store books,information and the like we think of books as a flash from the past. This article from 1894 is interesting to read as it brushes the future as to our entertainment and how we gain our information. Some of it is funny and some reminds me of our present time. Specially on the next to last page as we see a woman watching a picture and listening in her chair. Like a precursor to TV. Also on that next to last page you will see a trainload of people all with earphones on. Lastly a few pages before that you will see a person on a walk with earphones on and listening to his book. Of course my favorite is the last illustration that shows a lady seeing the doctor as her hearing is impaired by the loud recordings. Boy isn't that right on. You can see an entire generation today that will be in severe need of hearing aids in the future. 

In 1894 the phonograph had just arrived on the scene in a rather crude form, but was still an amazing thing. Sort of like our TV's were like in 1935. We all dreamed of what would be and as usual nothing like what we dreamed ever happened.

So what of books? Yes people do not write or read books like they once did. But that does not mean the book is dead. I think books will continue to be read and printed on paper but, mostly electronically as time goes on. But there will always be books around here and there. 
There will always be the holdouts who will never give them up. So has technology made the book obsolete? In a way yes, but also, in a way no. For there still is something magical and enjoyable about holding a book in your hands and using your mind and imagination. Just the feel of the book has a special meaning at least to me. Plus there are some areas where the book still holds its own.
I have my own library and that equals into a lot of books. But that is something as long as I live, I would not like to be without.

So enjoy this wonderful piece on the end of books and the outlook for new technology.

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