Harvard English Professor, Leah Price, has a typically pointed essay in today's "Sunday Times Book Review." Like much of what appears in those oh-so-erudite pages, I almost always find something that wiggles its way into the world of advertising.
You can read Price's essay here and it's well-worth your effort: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/12/books/review/the-death-of-the-book-through-the-ages.html?src=twr My father was absent for most of my life, busy at work, away on business or waist-deep in his fifth martini and his eleventh secretary. But he still, somehow, drilled into my head that if you want to learn to write, you ought to read the "Times'" book reviews. I never thanked him, though I should have, for that.
Price's essay is about the death of the book. We can extrapolate from dying books to other dying media: television, print, radio (of course) and more.
She starts her essay by citing an article that ran two decades ago in the Book Review by Robert Coover called "The End of Books." Even in those more paper-friendly, pre-e-book times, Coover "questioned whether print could survive the age of video transmissions,
cellular phones, fax machines, computer networks, and in particular out
in the humming digitalized precincts of avant-garde computer hackers,
cyberpunks and hyperspace freaks. Was the book as 'dead as God?"
Price jumps off from Coover and gives us a little "the book is dead" history.
In 1835, with the rise of newspapers Théophile Gautier’s had declared
that “the newspaper is killing the book, as the book killed
She cites similar predictions from H.G. Wells, Ray Bradbury, Aldous Huxley, Marshall McLuhan and others. Books would be replaced by all manner of science fiction.
Price says, "Every generation rewrites the book’s epitaph; all that changes is the whodunit."
Here's Price's money phrase, at least as far as I'm concerned: "In hindsight, we can see how rarely one technology supersedes another.
Television didn’t kill radio any more than radio ended reading. Yet by
1927 a librarian could observe that “pessimistic defenders of the book .
. . are wont to contrast the active process of reading with the lazy
and passive contemplation of the screen or listening to wireless, and to
prophesy the death of the book.” By 1966, in a Life magazine profile,
Marshall McLuhan lumped books with other antiques: “clotheslines, seams
in stockings, books and jobs — all are obsolete.”