The book is dead. Long live Facebook!

Novels may decline, but not creativity. A publisher foresees a revolution in readingby Mark Booth, publishing director of Century, an imprint of Random HouseThe first printed book in the middle of the 15th century illumined human consciousness like no other technological innovation. Knowledge would no longer be available only to a churchy elite. Freedom of thought, freedom of opinion and creative imagination would evade any attempt to control it. If people had once drifted away on clouds of incense, they were now liberated by the smell of ink.The evidence in 2008, however, suggests that book reading is in decline. I have worked in publishing for some 25 years and have also recently published a book of my own, conscious that it may be one of the last books. I think some people in the business don’t want to admit that it’s happening. To them it seems a betrayal of skills and standards that generations worked hard to maintain. They see apathy, short attention spans, illiteracy – what Auberon Waugh called the “proletarianisation” of Britain.But to me these signs are pointing the way to a revolution more radical than Caxton’s. The human mind is about to be turned inside out, opening up new dimensions of consciousness to anyone who isn’t determined to keep the door shut. In Holland in 1955 reading took up 21 per cent of people’s spare time. By 1995 it took up 9 per cent. In a recent survey, one in four Brits admitted they hadn’t read a book in at least a year – and that’s just the honest ones.
http://comment.independent.co.uk/commentators/article3333786.ece

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