Evidence for the Interdependence of Print and Screen Books
We now encounter augmentation of the print format with hand held reading devices and their associated bibliographic utilities. Utility features of screen books include display and search efficiencies lacking in print format reading and screen book advocates project a drastic displacement of print books.
This paper will consider the continuing role of print books in a context of their screen delivery. An interdependence of print and screen books will be proposed including interlaced roles acting together as a more responsible mechanism for cultural transmission. A further implication considered is that neither print or screen monographic books will flourish without the other.
The interdependence proposed interlaces self-indexing roles of screen books and self-authentication of print books. Book reading devices such as the Kindle are “e-libraries” acting as bibliographic utilities in the classical library science sense and fulfilling an evolutionary path from card catalogs, to on-line catalogs, to full text utilities.
Such full text utilities have encroached economic and academic models of the print book commodity, but there has always been a utilities book reading. This is book reading across titles, across genres and across library collections. At the same time physical authors and unique cultures wish to make their conceptions real, authentic and persistent. Here a role of print book in its context of screen delivery emerges as back-up, mastering and authentication features of physical books are accentuated.
(from FotB presentation abstract)
hand held library
Ebooks are best thought of as e-libraries. This is because any connected reading device can display more than a single title. Physical books will disappear whenever there is no need to display a single title as a physical device. Why in the world would we want to display single titles as unique devices? It doesn’t make much sense to display a given conceptual work as physical thing. But on the other hand it is a popular transaction and Bohemian ornamental glass leaps to mind.
The problem is our own physicality and a desire to make our imagination real. Unique authors and unique cultures wish to make their conceptions real, authentic and persistent. Libraries and museums are assigned to maintain culture transmission by any means possible.
Book reading devices such as the Kindle are really bibliographic utilities in the classical library science sense. They differ from card catalogs but they are related to on-line catalogs. They are full text utilities in addition to metadata alone.
Why have such utilities encroached both the publishers’ products and print books? They haven’t. There has always been a utilities kind of book reading. This is book reading across titles, across genres and across library collections.
An excellent evaluation of a drastic revamp of the University of Missouri Press begins to suggest a wider implication of sudden cut over strategies. Dire effects of bottom line analysis are arising in such disparate sectors as the euro zone, silicon valley and university athletics.
In all such sectors of adversity management there is a trend to eclipse the useful momentum of the economies and arrive at a new, indeterminate normality. It is well known that football and parking concessions cushion university finance, that internet addiction is a side effect and that all national economies are ephemera. Less apparent is a way forward that preserves useful momenta without apocalyptic disruption. Such an option is more complex but has an ecological resilience built in.