-The original first edition cover.
I was listening to a lunch talk given jointly by the Head Librarian at UofT’s reference library, Deborah Green, the City Librarian of the Toronto Public Library system, Jane Pyper, and the Chief Librarian of Victoria College, Lisa Sherlock.  One question that came up was the challenges of e-books in how will libraries in the future preserve history without physical items to preserve? Library special collections often include signed first editions, editions with author annotations, etc. In a digital world - will everything just be accessed via a computer as data? I’m not talking about scanning first editions that already exist in hard copy and making them available online - I’m talking about the future books not yet written and not yet published. The librarians agreed neither libraries nor publishers at the moment really know what the future for physical books will be. It is all up in the air so to speak, with books and e-books existing together for now. I for one hope physical books stay around as I like reading a book in hand. One interesting statistic mentioned was that science students have embraced e-books and electronic databases over printed materials, and humanities students still overwhelmingly prefer printed books. I can see this - if science students want to read abstracts from scientific journals, an iPad would be well suited for that. Humanities students who read long novel-length books prefer paper in hand, and for good reason I think. I will keep buying books in hard copy for as long as publishers print them.

-The original first edition cover.

I was listening to a lunch talk given jointly by the Head Librarian at UofT’s reference library, Deborah Green, the City Librarian of the Toronto Public Library system, Jane Pyper, and the Chief Librarian of Victoria College, Lisa Sherlock.  One question that came up was the challenges of e-books in how will libraries in the future preserve history without physical items to preserve? Library special collections often include signed first editions, editions with author annotations, etc. In a digital world - will everything just be accessed via a computer as data? I’m not talking about scanning first editions that already exist in hard copy and making them available online - I’m talking about the future books not yet written and not yet published. The librarians agreed neither libraries nor publishers at the moment really know what the future for physical books will be. It is all up in the air so to speak, with books and e-books existing together for now. I for one hope physical books stay around as I like reading a book in hand. One interesting statistic mentioned was that science students have embraced e-books and electronic databases over printed materials, and humanities students still overwhelmingly prefer printed books. I can see this - if science students want to read abstracts from scientific journals, an iPad would be well suited for that. Humanities students who read long novel-length books prefer paper in hand, and for good reason I think. I will keep buying books in hard copy for as long as publishers print them.

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