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UCL Centre for Digital Humanities



Shelf life: The Future of the book: World book day 2010

Claire SRoss4 March 2010

Happy World Book Day! How are you going to experience a book today?  Hardback, paperback, ebook? There are more and more options about what to read,  what environment to read in, and different ways of reading to choose from.  It begs the question what makes a book a book?

For hundreds of years, the printed book has provided people with education, information and entertainment, yet today the supremacy of Gutenberg’s technology seems under threat.   Does the rise of electronic publishing forecast the death of the book?

Has the book reached the end of its shelf life or is this merely a transitional phase during which books – like music and photography before them – become part of the digital age?

As part of the World Book Day celebrations UCL has produced a podcast about books in the digital age with Professor Henry Woudhuysen and Professor Iain Stevenson, you can find out more and listen here.

UCLDH is also very interested in the future of the book, and is working on the INKE project, researching to advance our understanding of how reading texts and using information is affected by digital delivery.

There is also going to be a lunchtime lecture on the 11th March to discuss what the future of the book holds.   UCL lunchtime lectures are streamed so if you can’t attend the event you can always watch it here