The future of the book

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I recently wrote a post questioning why books are still necessary in the digital age (here). I wondered why we hadn’t seen the rise of a new publishing format that would be more suitable to our digital world.

Thankfully, the Economist heard my plea, and just published an essay called “the future of the book” (here). It’s a wonderful essay, which is well worth the read. But it seems that they are mostly as confused as the rest of us – yes, books are wonderful, yes, there are lots of digital solutions that we could use, such as audiobooks and speedreading, but there is no obvious reason why we are still obsessed with a 2000-year old technology meant for slow reading.

I attended a recent launch of a compilation of the best articles from the first 100 years of the The New Republic. It is a wonderful book, containing pieces by everyone from Keynes to Roth. But given how we are moving away from opinion journalism in the age of internet superficiality, the likelihood that we’ll see a similar volume in another 100 years seem slim.

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