Print Is Dead, by Jeff Gomez

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Given Amazon's recent release of the Kindle ebook reader, the timing of Jeff Gomez's Print Is Dead couldn't be better. Regardless of your beliefs about print vs. e-content, you need to read this book, especially if you're in the publishing business. You might not agree with Jeff's opinions but I guarantee you he'll make you think about the industry in ways that you've never thought about it before. Even if you're just a fan of reading in general you owe it to yourself to read this excellent book.

The way I test the value of a book is by looking back and seeing how many times I've folded over a page or highlighted a passage that got my attention. My copy of Print Is Dead has so many folds and highlighter marks that it looks like it's been read by 10 different people. Here are some of my favorite excerpts:

Many of those in publishing see themselves as guardians of a grand and noble tradition, so much so that they sometimes suffer delusions of grandeur.

...pretty much anyone under the age of thirty qualifies for being accustomed to a 'constant stream of digital stimulation.' And so to expect future generations to be satisfied with printed books is like expecting the Blackberry users of today to start communicating by writing letters, stuffing envelopes and licking stamps.


Read it all.



Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetBooks

8 Comments
Posted November 25, 2007 at 4:33 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. DonGander wrote:

Will I be the last person with a library with books of every type and age - some nearly 300 years old? Will I be the last person that when presenting an argument, to pull down a book and show where I got my ideas? Will I be the last man who will spend 10 minutes moving down the rows of books and choosing one that I can take up to my room and would keep me interested until my eyelids droop and the book falls from my hands?

Perhaps I am.

November 25, 6:08 pm | [comment link]
2. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

you need to read this book

I’ll get to it as soon as it’s online.

November 25, 6:59 pm | [comment link]
3. R. Eric Sawyer wrote:

The way I test the value of a book is by looking back and seeing how many times I’ve folded over a page or highlighted a passage that got my attention.

In this context, is this the new definition of irony? That the proof of the value of a book proclaiming the death of printed books is found in the amount of handling and highlighting in that same book, proclaiming it’s own worthlessness!!

Given the advances in “publish on demand” technology and Publishing houses built on that model, combined with the advantages in paper copies, I am anticipating a new approach. Bookstores are great for browsing, people like them. But they cannot compete with Amazon et. al. for pure number of titles in inventory, no matter how obscure.

I will be surprised if, in the next few years, the brick and mortar bookstore will have only a few copies of any one book. Browse those, plus the computer kiosks. Place your order with the real or virtual clerk, then sit down and have a latte while your book is downloaded, printed and bound on site. For a lower price, the pdf would be downloaded onto a disk. Of course, you could do your shopping from home, and have it shipped, or pick up at your leisure.

November 25, 7:32 pm | [comment link]
4. In Texas wrote:

I’ve been reading books on my pda for years, and I don’t see the need for buying a large book reader when the pda works just fine.  The main drawback to e-books is the still limited availability of titles.

November 25, 7:43 pm | [comment link]
5. Daniel wrote:

“Many of those in publishing see themselves as guardians of a grand and noble tradition, so much so that they sometimes suffer delusions of grandeur.”

Change “publishing” to Anglican Communion or TEC and you still have a valid statement.

November 25, 9:00 pm | [comment link]
6. Katherine wrote:

I suspect he’s right, and it’s a pity.  I love sitting with a real book.

Does anyone know if these e-book readers allow the digital equivalent of folding down pages and highlighting?  (I use post-its to avoid defacing the book.)

November 26, 1:21 am | [comment link]
7. Marty the Baptist wrote:

I stare at a lighted screen all day.  Reading from paper is restful to the eyes…

I have no use for an E-book, and often print large documents so i can read them without inducing eye-strain and/or a migraine.

November 26, 1:28 pm | [comment link]
8. libraryjim wrote:

Circulaton of books, especially the best sellers, is still going up at a brisk pace at the library.  Print is not dead.  It’s not even sick.

Jim Elliott

November 26, 10:56 pm | [comment link]
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