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Essay on Books

Role of Books in Modern World

The invention of writing was one of the main breakthroughs of the human history; there is hardly anything else that may be at least distantly equal to the importance of this discovery, for the whole science, literature and knowledge of human race until now has no way of being preserved other than that of writing it down with a universally understandable set of symbols.

Yet, the form in which the writing is applied changes throughout the ages: from stone and clay tablets to papyrus and parchment scrolls, to hand-written books, to the ones that were printed.

Nowadays we can hear a lot of arguing in what concerns books, as we have used to know them. Will they be retained in the age of information? Can an electronic variant of a book be considered a true book? Is it acceptable to change one for another? Many people treat the ongoing change with disapproval and suspicion. They say that reading an electronic text will never be the same as reading a real, material book.

But I doubt this. For one thing, electronic texts are infinitely more convenient and transportable. For a person who relies on modern technology it is not impossible to move about the world while carrying his entire 10 000 volumes’ library with himself – the feat that is impossible for the advocate of traditional books. It is easier to read and look for necessary pages in an electronic text. And so on.

And I don’t think this change to be bad. Printed books have replaced the hand-written ones, but do we complain of reading losing its real quality because of that?

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