kevin kelly in his piece ‘what books will become’ makes the statement ‘What books have always wanted was to be annotated, marked up, underlined, dog-eared, summarized, cross-referenced, hyperlinked, shared, and talked-to. Being digital allows them to do all that and more’. he discusses formats, hardware and ownership vs access. the possible change from the traditional private and intimate way of reading to the possibilities of a more social mode. he talks about the interactivity that ebooks might offer and the potential of non-linear content. books less as artifact and more as flow and stream.
but kelly doesn’t lament the loss of the book or even the death of narrative (as some catastrophists do)‘…there is a power in the long form. A self-contained story, unified narrative and closed argument has a strange attraction for us. We [might] debundle books into their constituent bits and pieces and knit those into the web, but the higher level organization of the book will be the focus for attention … a book is an attention unit. A fact is interesting, an idea is important, but only a story, a good argument, a well-crafted narrative is amazing, never to be forgotten’. near the close of the article he quotes Muriel Rukeyser, “the universe is made of stories, not atoms.”