Author Uzanne predicted “The End Of Books” back in ’94…

…1894, that is.

A scholar at the University of Iowa’s Obermann Center for Advanced Studies has digitized an article from the July-December 1894 issue of Scribner’s Magazine Illustrated. It’s actually a broad set of predictions of what life will be like in the 21st Century, but the author’s predictions about books and reading are of most interest to us:

“My friend James Whittemore interrupted me. “And what will become of the libraries, dear friend, and of the books?”

“Libraries will be transformed into phonographotecks, or rather, phonostereoteks; they will contain the works of human genius on properly labelled cylinders, methodically arranged in little cases, rows upon rows, on shelves. The favorite editions will be the autophonographs of artists most in vogue; for example, every one will be asking for Coquelin’s ‘Molière,’ Irving’s ‘Shakespeare,’ Salvini’s ‘Dante,’ Eleonora Duse’s ‘Dumas fils,’ Sara Bern- hardt’s ‘ Hugo,’ Mounet Sully’s ‘Balzac;’ while Goethe, Milton, Byron, Dickens, Emerson, Tennyson, Musset, and others will have been ‘vibrated upon cylinders by favorite Tellers.’ “

Interesting that something like this really does happen with audiobooks. Think of the people who ask for titles read by C.J. Critt and Frank Muller.