Children and the Future of the Book

Over at the Atlantic’s technology blog, Edward Tenner asks whether children will save printed books. A historian of technology (whose 1996 book Why Things Bite Back? ought to be required reading for the uncritical cheerleaders of technological progress), Tenner points out that, despite the “consensus of many e-book enthusiasts and elegiac traditionalists alike” that the codex is doomed, responsible thought about the future requires “alternative scenarios.” And one possibility is that a younger generation will reject the prized possessions, the revolutionary amazements, of an older generation. Your father could not believe the convenience of his Remington Lektronic shaver and your mother raved about her Touch-o-Matic electric can opener; you shave with a safety razor and crank your cans open. Tenner suggests that a “pro-book rebellion” is possible, though not inevitable. The success of Mad Men has cleared the closets of wide neckties. [Continues here: ]

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