The Future of Books. Either Ways!

By Sovisoth Chou, of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Sovisoth, 21, studies at the University of Phuthisastra. Please read his article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

Introduction: The development stops here

To impart knowledge, in the long ago past, Homo sapiens established some strokes, and later, combined them into readable letters, and, this not being enough, at some point in time, they began to inscribe the words on stone, temple walls, tombs, and so on. The development grows bigger until an exact year when inks were used to write on papers, typing came to replace handwriting, and, finally, books came into peoples’ lives. The passing technologies have even modernized (hardcopy) books into e-books. And, in the upcoming future? Will books be replaced? Will people stop owning books? Scientists will be able to go magically unbelievably to find ways of implanting the knowledge into our brains? At least, not in the next decade! If they could, how much would that cost then? No way! Books will still be OWNED.

Nailing the point: People will still own books.

The world has been changing. So have we, the people, and the ways we live. Many great inventions have been found and created to facilitate living. Books arise, too! They touch upon almost all sectors of life, books compile and house various may-need knowledge, information, figures, and statistics that could give useful hints for people-like us-for our daily lives. In education, for example, books facilitate learning-teaching processes; (text)books compile all necessary information on the subject at hand, thus allowing students to read and digest the materials and facilitating teachers’ teaching. Without books, either text- or note-books, students might be still moving awkwardly and pressing hard their pen-needles on papyrus, parchment or slate and roaming their brains to remember all the details of the information delivered by their teachers. And, if so, life surely would be sourly venturing back to the Neolithic or Paleolithic period.

The universal fact that books are as diverse as novels, magazines, dictionaries, catalogue, etc. adds more weight to the point. And, with all due doubt, why? Simply, people are reading those types of books. How many out there would be clutching and reading a novel and bubbling fecund reflections? How many out there would be leisurely sinking their attention on various informative articles in a health magazine? For God’s sake, let’s just say, ten or so people (among the billions around the world) are doing this now. The suitable argument of the claim, now, is: people may be reading books but, necessarily, those books might not be theirs. Well, true, yet, the books read by people must be the books owned by people too, even if by other people. Besides, there are still people out there who sustain a career in writing and publishing books and books are written and published for people to read and not for other creatures to crumble.

Moreover, books may also preserve one language. Ceasing to own books written in a particular language might mean asphyxiating that language. For example, if Khmer (Cambodian) people no longer owned (and tooke good use of) books written in Khmer (Cambodian), the Khmer (Cambodian) language might lose its symbolism and relevance for its people, leading to the downward slope of the nation’s identity. The same is for other languages, excluding the languages that are widely spoken like English, Spanish, and Chinese, etc.

Therefore, hardly am I convinced, and virtually impossible is it to convince me that people will literally cease to own books. People will still own books as long as they live. Even some people who have already passed away still have made some more books available-their biography.


HOWEVER, the possibility that people will cease to own books in the future may as well float up. For one, people in the future might cease to regard magazines, novels, dictionaries, etc. as types of books, and consider them as such-magazines as magazines, novels as novels, dictionaries as dictionaries-and not as a type of book. Coupled with that, with the uptrend technologies, they (people) might eradicate text-books and find some advanced replacements that do not have a “-book” attached in the term. Then, if people are reading, say, a magazine, they are simply just reading a magazine, which is no longer a type of book. By this, people will no longer own books.

Additionally, there, maybe, is something beyond the phrase “owning the book”. Perhaps, “owning the book” here does not simply means having the books-and just that. “Owning the book” might conceal another implied meaning: having the book and making use of the books, say, by reading it or sharing it with others-and not just literally owning the book. In such a case, “people will cease to own books.” means people will no longer make good use of the book they have as they are too well intoxicated by many civilized things in today’s glitzy world that steal their zeal away from making good use of books. By this, the “people will cease to own books in the future” could dance in reality.

Final Conclusion

After the above portrayal, I would say that, literally, people will NOT cease to own books. As long as their breath inhales, books are a huge part of their lives. But, who knows? Human beings, by far, are well known for being miraculously unbelievable, for making things possible. Maybe, they could cease to own books in one day. Maybe, the so-called “2012 is the end of the world” prophecy happens and we all die and there would be no books to own. Whatever the case, we all know that books are really crucially important in our lives in many ways-and we all have to admit that, really. We read books and think and learn and reflect and improve. With that, you should always have a book nearby/with you to read. Like your teacher, it will teach you….something!

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