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NOV 14

The Future of the Book

Print books or e-books? Uplift or download? Writers and readers or interactive interchange? What is your view on the way that changing…

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Print books or e-books? Uplift or download? Writers and readers or interactive interchange? What is your view on the way that changing technologies and life styles are affecting books, publishing, information and the way that we read?

In November 2008, the network of  Edinburgh-based libraries ( ELISA) organised a panel discussion and open debate on this very subject as part of Edinburgh’s Festival of Libraries. A panel of five very well-informed people working at the cutting edge of their respective professions, presented and discussed the issues at stake from a wide range of perspectives.  The discussion proved to be stimulating and lively and the debate continues.

The debate was chaired by Stuart Kelly, Literary Editor of Scotland on Sunday

Hugh Andrew, Director of Birlinn Ltd, started the debate by asking us to consider what we value and to see how the pursuit of profit and the pursuit of truth can diverge.

Sheila Cannell: Director of Library Services, University of Edinburgh, illuminated the issues from a librarian’s perspective and she believes that it is not the format that matters but the experience of reading.

Donald Smith, Director of the Scottish Storytelling Centre is also a writer and works with many different kinds of ways of telling a story.

Michelle Harper as Global Manager, eBooks and eAudioBooks at OCLC comes from the cutting edge of technological development in the field of e-books. She questions whether we are using technology to its fullest potential and whether we aren’t impeded by our preconceptions.

Francis Bickmore, Senior Editor, Canongate Books works for a publisher that embraces the modern world. He delights in the growth of multiple literary subcultures that the new technology allows but fears that whilst everyone is so busy writing and interacting, there is no time to sit down and lose themselves in a book.

Stuart Kelly opened the public discussion by asking each of the panel members the question, "Do we read differently on screen versus paper?"

We invite you to join in… Is the future of publishing in print or pixels? On this evening, 42 expressed the view that the print form of the book would remain dominant, 22 believed that the medium of pixels will triumph. What do you think?

The event was hosted by the National Library of Scotland and sponsored by OCLC Online Computer Library Center . Recordings made by Saville AV Edinburgh, photographs taken by Ben Collins. Edinburgh’s Festival of Libraries 2008 was organised by ELISA (Edinburgh Libraries & Information Services Agency) with the aim to raise the profile of knowledge and information providers in the city and to increase benefits to library users through collaborative working.

Start Date

14 November 2008

End Date

14 November 2008

We are a worldwide library cooperative, owned, governed and sustained by members since 1967. Our public purpose is a statement of commitment to each other—that we will work together to improve access to the information held in libraries around the globe, and find ways to reduce costs for libraries through collaboration. Learn more »