The world around us is changing rapidly.
Never before like in our time the changes are immediate and affect immediately our daily lives. Our relationship with the environment is changing, our social relations are changing, the way we meet other people, and politics are changing. Also our relationship with books is changing.
Technology is travelling fast towards a horizon full of clouds and pixels. Increasingly larger areas of our daily activities are now fully managed by computers, and computers are becoming lighter and more ephemeral.
It's the sort of prophecy foretold in 1984 by Italo Calvino in his American Lectures, where one of the six words with which he greeted the forthcoming new millennium was lightness in the sense of insubstantiality.
Today, the computers are increasingly lighter and thinner, and cloud, a word designating a new way of understanding the web, internet and computers; a way where computers have less hardware, or mechanical parts, and increasingly more software.
One of the first revolutionary tools introduced by the internet is electronic mail, and the opportunity for people to exchange instant messages all over the world by an account that is not allocated into the computer but 'evaporated' into billions of bytes - the bricks of the web.
The concept of cloud is similar to the principle of e-mails, now extended to everything handled on the web. Computers made without built-in hard disks, which allow the users to allocate their data directly on the web, of course with its advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages, because the user can handle the computer in a much more manageable way, without having to carry around USB memory sticks or discs. Disadvantages, because it becomes a matter of privacy. It's a vexed question. But let's accept it, we had already given up our privacy with the advent of credit cards and mobile phones.
The future always brings new challenges, and it's up to us to accept them and overcome them.
So, has our relationship with books changed? It's changed radically. First of all, the word 'book' is now obsolete: it describes a support made of paper, bound with booklets. With pixels that word has no meaning any more.
We should from now on say more appropriately - and simply - text. A digital text loses its physical consistency, it lacks the physical concept of pages.
A digital text can be read without touching it; whether reading on a laptop or a tablet; it will be, from an ergonomic point of view, like watching a film; you can read it comfortably while holding a bag of crisps in your hands, or while taking notes; moreover, thousands of texts can be allocated in tablets or laptops.
This perhaps will leave us indifferent if we think about fiction or entertainment texts, but let's think about school and academic texts; let's think about the children and students of today with their backs bent by backpacks filled with heavy books and dictionaries, and let's compare that with carrying just a case with a laptop or a tablet. The change is radical. A revolution.
The home shelves full of books will disappear, beautiful displays with the only purpose to show off.
From the point of a pragmatic perspective, the advent of the digital text constitutes a humiliation for those fetishist readers for whom the book is not the text, but its support of paper; virtually all readers, who like touching books, who buy books just for the pleasure of it, without reading them.
The advent of the electronic text is changing books radically: by reducing the costs, the launchpad that will allow good authors to emerge will be less cumbersome; there won't be returns to the publishers, and out-of-print books: a text will always be available.
Moreover, the advent of digital text is a humiliation for those writers - all writers - who value the consistency of their own talent by the paper consistency of their book. Not infrequently a book of 600 pages makes its author a genius. It doesn't matter if it's full of nonsense.
All these people must resign: the book will disappear, it will be more and more just the text. The pixels are almost as light as thoughts. After centuries of books, the text comes back.
Exbook.eu Publisher is waiting for it.