From The New Yorker:
As Leah Price suggests in her brisk new study, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Books: The History and Future of Reading” (Basic), physical books—which, ten or so years ago, many fretted might soon be obsolete—show no signs of going away. Nobody would try to pop a cyst with a Kindle or prop open a window with a phone.
Price, who has taught English at Cambridge, Harvard, and Rutgers universities, is the founding director of the Rutgers Book Initiative, a wide-ranging venture that promotes book history at universities and libraries. She is not an elegist for print: her extraordinary grasp of every development in book history, from incunabula to beach reads, monasteries to bookmobiles, suggests that a love of printed matter need not be a form of nostalgia. She warns of the danger of turning books into a “bunker,” a place to wait out the onslaught of digital life. Print, she reminds us, was itself once a destabilizing technology.