1. marcusl
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    marcusl Member

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    Will books survive?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by marcusl, Dec 12, 2009.

    This question has concerned me for a long time. Nowadays, when I'm on the train on the way to work, I see people listening to music or playing a handheld. Sure, there are people who still read books, but I guess the numbers have dropped. I feel like video games' potential is tough to beat. They can have stories and characters just like books, but they're also interactive. Books allow readers to use their imagination. I'm not sure if that's a powerful argument to people, though.

    Thanks, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
     
  2. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    As long as there are people like us in the world, books won't disappear. I mean, sure; video games are really fun and interactive, but these two are really different. Books and video games entertain in two very different ways. And well, it is far more enjoyable to write a story than to write scripts and codes for a video game. So no, I don't think books will disappear (Or maybe they will if Ray Bradbury's vision comes true :p).
     
  3. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    Books won't dissapear. They offer a much different experience than video games, or anything else for that matter.
     
  4. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I see this question being asked every other month; if not by writers, then by teachers and publishers. It seems like it's the question that's asked when people in the busness get depressed.

    They will survive, just like Radio has.
     
  5. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    The narrative capabilities of video games has been the subject of muuuuch debate in the industry. There's virtually no argument that a video game will never achieve the same depth as a novel, or even a film, simply because the writers et al. aren't able to control the emotional experience of the user in the same way that a writer/director can control a reader/viewers experience in film. Without the ability to put a person on a linear path through a narrative where you control everything happening, you can't create the depth of meaning that can be generated easily in conventional linear narratives. The more control you give the player, the less effective the narrative is likely to be (while, problematically, the less control you give the player, the less enjoyable the game is likely to be).

    Basically, I think the narrative potential of video games is far from tapped, although attempting to reconcile interactive games with the strictly passive act of reading a novel or watching a movie is a dead end, and the sooner the industry realises this, the better. So, for that reason, I don't think you will ever see video games eclipse books (or films) for reasons of the satisfaction derived from story-telling (let alone any of the multitude of other reasons for reading books), but the fact is games are fun, and for that reason they might be competing with books on people's down time (especially in the early morning...I know I don't often feel like reading on the train to work at 7 or 8am...)
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i'd say yes, but with reservations... i think they'll sadly continue to be less 'universal' than they had been in their heyday [pre-video-games and internet], but still remain an important part of most cultures, as they have been, since the first ones were painted on their authors' walls...

    it's sad to me that they printed book will most likely give way in the future to a kindle-type electronic version, a la so many sci-fi writers' visions from way back, but much as i'd like to, i can't stop 'progress' even when i can't see it as such... my only hope is that won't happen till after i'm gone...
     
  7. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    I've been a gaming addict since I was seven or eight years old. I've played hundreds of games and read several times as many books. The argument doesn't make much sense, considering how vastly different the two mediums are. Sometimes I want a game; sometimes I want a book.

    Both games and movies are often based on massively popular books. . . and owe their success to a pre-established fan base. I don't see that stopping any time soon.

    And how do you know those mp3 players aren't playing audiobooks? I listen to audiobooks all the time. . . when a paperback isn't convenient or practical.
     
  8. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Two things to think about. Women are more avid readers than men and less likely to be gamers. Also, e-readers have been selling extremely well of late.
     
  9. Mercurial
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    Mercurial Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, books will survive just like magazines and newspapers will survive, but I'm sure that they wont be produced like they always have been. Music has never died out, but record players and tape recorders and CDs have. Stories will never die out, but the paperback versions will. I figure tools like Kindle and audiobooks will be the more widely preferred medium. As soon as Apple gets a hold of a good "app," I'm sure tons of people will be getting their books that way.

    I personally will always love the weight and inky texture of newspaper and a book, but then again some will always love the sound of the needle scratching a record. It's preference. Stories wont die out, but books --as far as their size and shape, I wouldnt be surprised.
     
  10. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    I just remembered something interesting.

    I was playing Hellgate: London on the euro server a couple years ago, and met a Danish fellow whose writing easily surpassed my own. And that was in game chat.:eek: I assumed he must be well-read, but he told me he learned English almost exclusively from gaming. He picked up the raw basics in school and refined his writing through his favourite entertainment medium--PC RPGs. There's always a lot of text in RPGs.

    It was quite embarassing, really. He put me to shame and typed twice as fast as I did. Our conversations inspired me to work on my own English.:redface:

    My only excuse was that I had just emigrated from World of Warcraft, where an intelligent sentence is about as common as a homeless president. Oddly enough, the Europeans generally spoke better English than Americans did. I guess it's a cultural thing.
     
  11. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Of course they will.

    I assume by book you mean the novel format, not just the actual physical object. As Maia has already lamented, no, I do not think the physical object known as "book" will continue forever. They are fragile things and ephemeral by nature. From the beginning we began the industry with a product that is not made to last. At least in the U.S. I understand that in U.K. rag paper was more the norm and it seems o be a much longer lasting medium than wood pulp paper.

    Anway.... The novel will continue. As aaron has already pointed out, it has a particular dynamic that won't lend itself to the video game.

    They are different... epistemologies.

    Just as TV did not kill the movies did not kill theatre.

    Just as science did not kill religion did not kill spirituality.
     
  12. M9A8E6S4TO
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    M9A8E6S4TO Senior Member

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    That's a really, really cool sentence.
     
  13. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Y'know, and this is getting a little off-topic so I'll keep it brief, I really think the usefulness of the novel as a medium is drawing to an end. And I know people have been saying that since the form first emerged a couple of centuries ago, and I mean it only in regard to Western countries, but I feel that the way society is headed, the novel is becoming insufficient to truly recreate the experience of life in today's world. As little as 30 years ago it would've been, but so much of how we think and how we experience the world has changed. Things that used to exist only in language are now breaking out into new forms, being articulated in new ways, and the limitations of any strictly textual form are becoming more and more pronounced as new means of expression and communication develop. I'm not suggesting an end to the written word, merely a rethinking of how writing is delivered to the masses and how it communicates.
     
  14. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    Arron, I think I actually agree with that, somewhat. Delivery is ever changing, but the art itself is eternal. I'm not afraid of change, though. It will be interesting to see where it goes.
     
  15. InkDream
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    InkDream Senior Member

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    I think books will survive. I come from a large family of readers and I have every intention of passing on the book nerd gene.

    I think the biggest threat to books are things like the Kindle. I hate, hate, hate it. I like the feel of a book in my hands, the smell of the paper, the way they look on my shelves. I will never convert.

    Never.
     
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  16. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    Only time will tell. If I could get my text books on Kindle, even if they were not any cheaper, they would be much lighter. The weight savings alone would be worth it to me.
     
  17. Mercurial
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    Mercurial Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is a very good point. Additionally, if you read books over and over, like I do, the binding would never give out on you.

    The only problem, then, would be that it's unlikely one could purchase a used copy of a virtual textbook, and they're so expensive. :( Then again, would they become as easily duplicated as mp3s are? :eek:
     
  18. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    Ha. That's why we'll always have printed books. College/uni texts will never be free.:rolleyes:
     
  19. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think this is the right question. Books will surely survive...but what about bookstores? The profit margins for bookstores and traditional publishers for print books is diminishing as fewer readers rely on such books. Bookstores that merge with allied businesses will stay in business and might even grow. For example, our local Barnes & Noble also offers a great coffee shop where people meet and many sit around reading. Same thing at the local college...bookstore is simply one section of a series of mini-shops where people eat pizza, read, visit, use the free wireless broadband. But, I'm afraid the stand-alone, traditional bookstore is a dinosaur that just doesn't know it's extinct yet.

    The other way I think books might continue to thrive is through targeted market, direct access sales campaigns. I'm presently experimenting with this approach and if it is successful, then I plan to expand my fledgling publishing company. We'll see.
     
  20. Unit7
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    I think the physical book will most likely die but the stories will continue. Kindle and other such devices will make it easier and cheaper. Personally I don't care if I am reading an actual book or something off of a screen. For me its not how I am able to read it, but what I am reading. Whether its a Goosebumps book or something like Farenheight 451. As long as I can read and enjoy the story I am content.

    Because ultimately thats why I love reading and writing. To read and tell stories. Well also watch them through TV and movies. Which is why I love tv series such as Law and Order.
     
  21. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I couldn't agree more. The busness is changing, but I know many people who could not live without books.
     
  22. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Books are one of the only things that have and will always survive the future.
     
  23. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have a hard time imagining real books will die out because of how I see toddlers flipping through them. They need that contact, and enjoy it. Besides, they don't have the fine motor skills to handle the most of the high-tech stuff. As long as there are schools and daycares that foster that interest, I don't see them dying out completely. Besides, some of the biggest stores in Toronto are stores that primarily sell books.
     
  24. Calrootpeg
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    Calrootpeg Member

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    Struck a never. 8-track, cassette, video tape, TV transmission towers, photographs, all gone... or antiques to our kids. Paper is from trees, trees are sacred, the way the world is books may have the same branding as meat to vegans, cigarettes in c-rations, Co2 to the green party, urban sprawl to farmers, God to school boards. E-books will dominate meaning an unlimited amount of cheap to produce material once untouched by the literate will become needed to fill an unlimited amount of memory. As with the phone, landlines are expensive compared to cells, tex-ing replaces conversations... only hope, can't curl up by the fireplace and read an e-screen... it'll melt the components.
     
  25. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Excellent observations. I would only offer that, as long as schools continue to use traditional books from elementary schools through college, then books and bookstores will survive. But, when a new generation becomes educated without the use of paper-based books, then books as we know them will become relics in antique stores. As with mammamaia, I hope it is not in my lifetime.
     

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