The question of the durability of books – whether they will survive the technological novelties that are galloping through our lives, whether they will be valued, and most importantly, read – has been a hot topic recently. I like to think that there is a place in our world for the codex, after all, digital music has not killed the live band. Music is as old as humanity itself, as is language. Written language has a more recent genesis and the codex more recent still. The first codices were created more than a thousand years ago. They’ve been burned, censored, plundered and modified. Each new generation has threatened the survival of entire libraries of codices, but still we create them.
I come from a family of book lovers. We’re born and bred that way. If I gave my twelve year old niece the choice between a digital book reader and a single printed book she’d choose the latter every time. Digital readers don’t look as good sitting on a shelf, nor do they feel as good in the hand. While I do believe the digital book has a place in our lives, especially for education and for the travel-conscious reader, I don’t believe it will replace the codex. I for one will not give up the book that easily.