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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Thursday, March 8, 2012 2:10 pm
Book Trailer Thursday: On the Changing Nature of Books
Posted by: Annie Bostrom

One morning last week, I was riding my usual bus to work in my usual, pre-8 A.M., low-functioning state when I had a moment of alarming cognitive dissonance. As I scanned my review copy of Gideon Lewis-Kraus’ A Sense of Direction, I wondered why his vague reference to another book was not hyperlinked to the Booklist review of that book—I wanted to know its title and to read an informed, 175-word review. But, of course, you can’t follow a hyperlink from a paperback. My muddled thinking was a byproduct of working for a review journal with a lively online component and being pre-caffeinated. Funnily enough, that same morning, Keir sent me a link to this bright article from the Guardian.

Growing in prevalence and relevance, book trailers have cropped up in the fertile soil of the YouTube age (remember when we were all TIME‘s “Person of the Year?”). Now a major component of any book’s marketing campaign, it’s hard to see book trailers fading in fashion. What I find most interesting about Lindesay Irvine’s article, however, is her musing on the future of books:

The potential of technology, historically, has always determined the form that art takes: from the pigments and optical devices that have shaped painting, to the building materials that have decisively inflected architecture. Likewise, it’s impossible to imagine the modern novel without the printing press. It feels inevitable, therefore, that video and other multimedia are going to find their way in to the text; in fact, it would be bizarre if they didn’t.

So, why not? While I recognize that I don’t yet personally have the emotional capacity to trade in my leafy friends for their flashy e-versions, I know how often a book inspires me to seek out its images, sounds, and even smells—how convenient it would be to have them all right there! Until the iPad can emote a fresh-baked cookie scent though, I’ll stick to my books.

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