At first there were records. Long play or LP’s and singles that were about half a size of the LPs. We spun them on the phonographs or later called the record players or turntables. Where I came from we called them gramofons. When the head lowered on the round spinning disk, we’d hear that cracking first, then the music would start. Some records were played over and over again, until the darn thing got worn out and the record skipped.
In the eighties tapes or cassettes and cassettes recorders eventually replaced records and record players.
Remember the boombox? They are still around but they don’t look like this anymore.
They were compact and portable and more practical. Listeners could get blank tapes and record their own music straight from the radio. I’m dating myself here, but it’s ok. I loved making mixed tapes. Raise your hand if you did too. It even has a definition on Wiki:
“A Mix Tape or Mixed Tape is a compilation of songs recorded in a specific order, traditionally to an audio Compact Cassette.”
Then in the nineties came the compact disks or the CDs.
The readable surface of a Compact Disc includes a spiral track wound tightly enough to cause light to diffract into a full visible spectrum.
And now digital technology, Apple and Web 3.0 brought us the new revolution in recordings: MP3s. iPhone, iPod, iTunes. We can download the music, movies, videos you name it to our portable devices.
“Just as the music industry went through a major change with the rise of digital music and MP3s, the publishing industry is undergoing a paradigm shift away from traditional print models.
In 2009 the current economic conditions have made it more expensive than ever to produce printed content. Rising costs of raw materials for printing and costs for distribution and delivery have all played a major factor in the decline of print. Couple these production factors with a sharp decline in advertising sales and a steady incline in sales of electronic reading devices and you can understand why publishers are looking for new digital publishing business models.
The argument used to be that people would never read a book, newspaper or magazine on a screen, but that argument is fading fast.
A majority of people will spend eight hours or more a day at work looking at a computer screen. Younger generations and children have used computers and the Internet their whole life. Reading on-screen has become more comfortable and convenient.” (source: http://www.databasepublish.com/blog/what-epub)
Yes, the numbers tell us of vast revenue generated in eBook sales. And no one was more surprised than me when a few of my friends acknowledge they finally broke down and bought an eReader. After they solemnly announced they’d NEVER do such thing. They said they didn’t feel as if they read a book if they didn’t hold a book in their hands. But, will the book as we know it ever be replaced by electronic file just as mp3s and iPods replaced records, cassettes and even CDs would become obsolete? The recordings of written word have been around since the dawn of humanity, as we see it in this picture of Sumerian language cuneiform script clay tablet, 2400–2200 BC (picture courtesy of Wikipedia.)
But in a way the technology is taking us back. The first words were recorded by chiselling on stone tablets such as Baška tablet one of the first monuments containing an inscription in the Croatian language, dating from the year 1100. Today we read the text on electronic tablets. In ancient times words were recorded also on papirys scrolls. Today, instead of unrolling the scroll, we scroll we use the scrolling device such as computer mouse.
So, will the traditional book disappear from the face of the Earth as in is depicted in “The book of Eli” 2010 American post-apocalyptic action film? The story revolves around Eli, a nomad in a post-apocalyptic world, who is told by a voice to deliver his copy of a mysterious book to a safe location on the West Coast of the United States. The history of the post-war world is explained along the way as is the importance of Eli’s task. Not the kind of world anyone would like to live in. No books of any kind = no knowledge.
My conclusion – the disappearance of a book as we know it might happen but most likely will not occur in our life time or any time soon after that.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Go ahead and leave your comments. Anything goes.