About every ten years, it becomes urgent to confront ideas and ask the expertise of scholars and visionaries about this issue. But as if we were trapped in a per- petual present, the circling debates do not manage to go beyond the direct confrontation between two objects, between the comparisons of two reading experiences. They present the book and ebook side- by-side and just ask: which do you prefer? By simplifying this com- plex problem into the direct confrontation between two objects, the- se debates make a reassuring move. Everything looks as if the future of the book would just be bound to a question of user’s adoption. [...] Unfortunately, technological paradigm changes do not work that way. Side-by-side comparison is good for forecasting the success or failures of comparable technological products. But these compari- sons do not manage to grasp the longer historical dynamics involved and the forces that drive them. [...] Hypotheses to explain the resistance of the Book must be articu- lated at a systemic level. We could for instance consider that books are much more complex cultural tools than maps as they are linked with a larger network of actors, related laws, distribution channels. As this ‘ecosystem’ took a long time to stabilize and as it involves a large collection of actors, it is normal that it offers some resilience to the impact of change.

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A quote saved on March 14, 2013.


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