Each medium has requirements for storage and display. Paper books do require space, but that is about all. Screen books require electricity, connectivity, and display device. Separated requirements for storage and display add complexity to screen prerequisites. Screen book advocates sometimes assume their medium prerequisites are eternal rights while physical space is unsustainable presumption.
And another thing: screen surface and paper substrate; one transacts content and the other embodies content. Content itself is consistently ephemeral, both conveyed and received. The only tangible is the device commodity and among those there is only one tangible display.
The book is a tool of our consciousness. It converts ideas into things. There is also a recursive function as books then engender further research. Using this book tool we have built our history, literature and science. It has functioned quietly but efficiently across time and cultures.
The current rush of changes in print and ebook formats is dramatic evidence of our close companionship with books. A flood of digital reading devices and hybrid software and hardware designs are emerging as the print book is augmented by screen delivery and associated cloud libraries, ebook collection building, automated index and searching, and screen learning. While all screen book simulations deviate from print conventions the hybrids that emerge exhibit print and screen formats referencing each other and often resonating with each other. This rapidly developing book production and consumption landscape is dynamic and unique in media history.
Advancing into this media environment we intend to investigate the topic popularly known as the future of the book. The topic is already avidly discussed in technical and information science forums. We wish to contribute within the context of cognitive humanist study and observe the impact of these changes on human creativity and learning.
The book preservation class is meeting in the old Bindery in the new Center for the Book at North Hall. Other than the bindery you will not recognize the place! There is a new computer lab, a huge new letterpress and graphic studio, all kinds of student amenities and all is newly painted and furnished. It is as if there is a new future of the book.