Not so very long ago we were contemplating the imminent demise of the printed word under the impact of the new technology. Would the Gutenberg tradition be buried, the bookshelves be emptied and the booksellers disappear when the word, the book, could be produced and stored electronically?
Internet usabilityt guru Jakob Nielsen (www.useit.com/alertbox) has predicted exactly when the Book will cease to be – in 2008, when all of us have computer screens of such clarity and Intrernet access of such bandwidth that reading off the screen is as plesaurable as reading the printed page. Leading-edge users will stop reading books only five years from now, since they adopt new technology much earlier.
But technology always is double-faced, at the very least. One of the leading retailers of the Internet itself is indeed peddling books, even litle-known, obscure, and out-of-print copies. We at TELDOK, who disseminate the experience of early IT usage, do so by issuing books in print.
So, the focus of the recent TELDOK Report 122e, One book at a time, is: Will digital, tele-borne technology be able to revive the publication and improve the distribution of those books which are not big sellers, do not ride on passing trends and are not written in any of the big international languages?
Maja-Brita Mossberg, author of TELDOK Report 122e, has talked to a great number of knowledgeable authors, publishers, designers, producers, booksellers and readers, and presents several views of whether the Print on Demand technology coupled with the Internet can salvage, develop, or complement the Book as we know it.