The Future of the Book
February 12th, 2011
Some say that books – that is, the printed, non-digital variety – are destined for the trash heap. Call it the Age of the Kindle. Ralph Cohen (James Madison University) spent a lifetime collecting books, many of them very rare. But recently, after 70 years book collecting, he decided to give away thousands of them. Did he do it because he believes books are dead? Also featured: the story of how a rare and valuable dictionary of Old English mysteriously wound up in a college library in the Shenandoah Valley. Dabney Bankert (James Madison University) discovered this literary gem and spent a decade reconstructing its strange, winding journey. And also featured: while printed books may be on the decline, audio books are still as popular as ever. The billion-dollar-a-year industry is the merger of traditional and technological cultures. Lucy Bednar (James Madison University) says the narrator serves a vital role. They can make or break the experience – and she shares examples of each.