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I Was Wrong About the Death of the Book And Umberto Eco was right.

The Atlantic [read free]: “Fifteen years ago, in What Would Google Do?, I called for the book to be rethought and renovated, digital and connected, so that it could be updated and made searchable, conversational, collaborative, linkable, less expensive to produce, and cheaper to buy. The problem, I said, was that we so revered the book, it had become sacrosanct. “We need to get over books,” I wrote. “Only then can we reinvent them.” I recant. Umberto Eco was right when he said, “The book is like the spoon, scissors, the hammer, the wheel. Once invented, it cannot be improved.” When exactly the modern book was invented is a matter of debate. Was it by Gutenberg? No. He mechanized the manuscript. Was it half a century later, at the end of books’ incunabular phase, with the addition of the title page, page numbers, paragraph indentations, and other characteristics of the book as we know it? I think not. That describes the form of the modern book, not its soul…”

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