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Blog post by publishing industry consultant Mike Shatzkin: It will be hard to find a public library 15 years from now
As far as I'm concerned, anything in The Onion has a whole lot more credibility than Shatzkin.
I seriously doubt you read the post. If and when you do read the post what do you disagree with? The post seems very measured to me.
He says that he is not talking about academic or special libraries. There is also no claim that public libraries will be extinct just that there will be less of them.
He is looking at an ebook world with another 15 years of development. If we go back 15 years we would be at the beginning of the mass Internet. Amazon was 1 year old 15 years ago. Fifteen years from now is a lot of time for the information/book/ebook world to change. Look at cell phones. In 1996 business people, the rich, and the upper middle class were the predominant users of cellphones. Fifteen years later cell phones have filtered down into the grade schools. In 15 years we also went from large clunky devices that could only make a phone call to portable computers with cameras that can also be used as a phone.
I think this is one of the core parts of the post:
The print book infrastructure is like a network of roads, sidewalks, and superhighways. Everything gets where it wants to go by well-established paths.
Ebooks live in a different world. There are no superhighways and, for many books and many markets, there isn’t even a beaten path yet. We’re still hacking our way through the jungle. So, for the most part, the world we’ll live in when there is a fully-built ebook infrastructure only exists in our imagination today.
The world I was describing in the quoted and paraphrased section of my talk is imaginary. It is expected (at least by me), but it isn’t here yet and I wasn’t trying to suggest that it is.
In a fully ebooked world, which I expect we’ll be living in 10 or 15 years from now, print books won’t be extinct, but they’ll be either exotic or very purpose-driven. They won’t be common or an ordinary way to deliver content, the way they are today.
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