Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Who Said the Book is Dead!

The first years of the 21st century have not been good ones for traditional media.

As more and more people, especially young people, flock online to get their information and their entertainment digitally, real-world TV and radio outlets, filmmakers and distributors, newspapers and the record industry have lost droves of clients and millions, if not billions, of dollars of business.

Case in point: digital piracy is shaving off 12 to 13 per cent of the United States’ total movie industry revenue, a real-world value of $20.5 billion, writes Andrew Keen, author of the Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet is Killing Our Culture.

Yet, this Web 2.0 revolution has yet to totally savage the oldest of old-school media: books.

Spending on books in Canada actually increased by 23 per cent between 1997 and 2001, translating into an impressive $1.1 billion annually. Statistics are also showing that people in their teens, 20s and 30s – the folks quickest to jump on the Web and/or new media bandwagon – are still getting out there and buying books, graphic novels and other book-like media.

Furthermore, young North Americans are continuing to be fascinated by the whole spectrum of book culture, says Robert Demarais, Assistant Special Collections Librarian with the University of Alberta’s Bruce Peel Library.

‘Book-arts programs (courses in everything from book design, how to make paper, and how to run a letter-press) are enjoying a renaissance all over the place, even in high-tech centres like Seattle,’ he says.”

This blog item is excerpted from an article published in the Edmonton Journal by Gilbert Bouchard entitled “Ink on Paper is Just the Beginning of the Printed-Word Experience. For the full article please check here.

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