Books made the rich richer when they first appeared (in Gutenberg's time, c.1450) as the medium of information flow and exchange; they also taught the learned and privileged to think on a entirely different level as the rest of the illiterate world. The death of the book now seems unlikely; but the dearth of thought does seem just around the corner. Now take two statistics:

Years it took Afghanistan to restore international phone links after civil war disabled them in 1993 : 7
Average number of minutes per day that Americans spend waiting for Web pages to download : 9

Without more context and enriched connection the division between those capable of thought and those capable only of serving will grow. This divide will benefit the powerful few, just as the written word did after its inception, unless access and education are open and available everywhere.

"...what everyone needs is data, data day and night, because data, like drugs, soothe the senses and encourage us to think we are, when at the top of their heap, on top of the world...libraries contain books, and books contain information, but information has always been of minor importance, except to minor minds. What matters is how the information is arranged, how it is understood, and to what uses it is put..." William Gass, "In Defense of the Book" (1999)

Further Reading:
Schottenloher, K. Books and the western tradition (London: McFarland, 1989)
Tainter, J. The collapse of complex societies (Cambridge: UP, 1988)
Shapiro, A. The control revolution (NY: Century, 1999)

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