For as long as observers of literary matters can remember, there have been predictions about the end of the book. The radio will supplant reading. Films will supplant reading. Television will supplant reading. Video games will supplant reading. Now, we are told, the technology itself will become redundant. All sorts of innovations—CD-Roms, the internet and electronic book readers—have been hailed as replacements for print on paper.
The book, however, has put up a strong fight. Sales continue to rise. Some—the Harry Potter series, celebrity memoirs, the selections of the Richard and Judy book club—are selling in record numbers. Even literary…
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