The Death of the Book…Again

August 13, 2012 | Sarah

With the rise of e-books and the demise of many box store book chains, there is one question floating around the publishing world: are books dead?

This is a familiar question, and not just from the 21st century. The death of books has been heralded over and over again for centuries. In The New York Times this weekend there was an article called “Dead Again” that explores the death knell for books over the past few hundred years. According to author Leah Price:

Every generation rewrites the book’s epitaph; all that changes is the whodunit.

To further support this point, I found this photo today

It’s an article from the publication Library Journal. From 1950.

I bring this up because as an avid reader, I agree with the points made above. The book is not dying, but the methods of reading are expanding and changing with new technology. I have had a Kindle for over four years at this point, yet my librarian still knows me by name, and I recently had to buy a whole new bookshelf because a shelf on my current one had cracked. This new bookshelf is already almost full. Books are still a valuable component of education, social and political life. They will not simply die, but will always be found alongside other mediums of finding information, like the radio, TV and Twitter. If anything, we are in a great new age of reading, as books are incredibly easy to acquire, and can be made more social and engaging than ever before.

As an organization that runs and supports book clubs on college campuses all over the country, NeW is obviously a proponent of the written word. We have our own list of books we recommend for our chapters and friends. We also run our own Online Book Club. This new semester has all of our chapters reading and discussing books with the purpose of expanding intellectual diversity and covering new and different topics. NeW doesn’t care how these books are read, as long as they are, and that the ideas shared in them are discussed and used for the benefit of all.

As a NeW blog reader, how do you read books and the news? Is it through traditional print? Kindles and tablets? The Internet or TV? Leave your thoughts in the comments!


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