Sad story on the decline of print books used by students and faculty in their studies or checked out at libraries (over 60% decline). Nowadays digital articles, ebooks, and online reference management software are the main tools for scholarly research. The wealth of knowledge is not lost when switching from print to electronic formats but what I feel we lost is how much we perceive the work done by authors. When we find a book on a bookstore shelf, we not only see the nice looking cover but also notice the volume size. The physical appearance of the book is important for our perceptual mindset “ big book means more information regardless of quality. But we we opt for an online version that is both searchable and easily accessible with our computers. With digital books, size doesn’t matter because we are capable of acquiring all sorts of ebooks regardless of quantity (number of pages) or quality (author X vs Y). We then search rather than read cover to cover. By loosing the physical essence of print books, its practical value as a whole book diminishes to us. Discouraged authors will then print less books or write smaller volumes. There is no way around this problem other than appreciating what authors write through #reading and #learning from what they give us.
Read the original article Dan Cohen (2019)”The Books of College Libraries Are Turning Into Wallpaper” in The Atlantic May 26, 2019