I read and hear with greater frequency "the book is dying." We live in a time where instant information often drowns reason, gossip trumps news, and knowledge of the immediate defeats rigorous analysis, critical reflection, and eloquent debate; where the infotainment scoop often supersedes journalistic integrity. There have, without doubt, been many new conveniences and welcomed advantages with the advent of the Internet and all its offspring: Twitter, Facebook, wikis, blogs, nings, and list serves (remember those); but the value of thoughtfully conceived ideas fully reflected upon, critiqued and edited is without equal. As David Ulin puts it in The Lost Art of Reading – Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time: "Reading is an act of resistance in a landscape of distraction.... It requires us to pace ourselves. It returns us to a reckoning with time. In the midst of a book, we have no choice but to be patient, to take each thing in its moment, to let the narrative prevail. We regain the world by withdrawing from it just a little, by stepping back from the noise."
Books provide an unparalleled opportunity to express, organize, develop, and communicate complex concepts and ideas. They encourage reflection, cultivate reason, and promote thoughtful discourse.
The book's form may change, but its concept will live forever. It has to!