Monday, June 2, 2008

The Death of Gutenberg

The printing press died when the copier was invented. But though we still read, our eyes are focused more and more on a screen and paper is disappearing into the pixels. To think we might one day be able to let go of the page, to stop the holding of the finger between pages, the finger-licking, the turning and turning back again, then folding the corner or placing a bookmark. It is a thought that releases a certain longing and regret in the heart of anyone who has loved a book, who has held one close in the dark, or ruined one’s eyes straining to read in a pool of poor light. The book as an object is an ancient icon and even though the hard copy may disappear, or else be considered rare, they things we read might be changing. The written word, thought still expressed in letters, words and sentences, will change. Literature will change. All reading and writing will change as the web changes how we find what we read and respond to it.