Evolution of Entertainment (The Death of Books)

It’s been a while since anyone’s walked down the street and found someone reciting The Iliad in classic oral tradition. It’s not hard to tell why: it’s irrelevant today. Not the story of The Iliad, but the oral tradition of it. Today we have things like podcasts and movies, we don’t need people telling the story like that. One thing has remained constant though, and that’s books.

It’s easy for someone to say that the art of poetry is dead, and in many ways it is, but it still lives strongly today. It simply evolved. Modern poetry is consumed through song lyrics. There truly is some lyrics out there that read like beautiful poetry and are only intensified by the music backing them. Now, I’m not saying that the newest 2Chainz rap is poetry, but there are better examples.

The same goes for theater. Chances are at some point students will be forced to read Shakespeare or any other playwright. And now all the playwrights haven’t simply died and gone away, they just evolved into screenwriters. One of the great improvements of technology is the ability to be lazy. Before, plays would have to be scheduled for specific times on certain days. If you missed the play for whatever reason it was gone. But with television and movies you can record the video or purchase it to watch later. Of course there’s still a few plays out on broadway, same thing with how there’s still a few poets out there, but the majority of them have moved to their evolved mediums.

That leaves the issue of books. Books really have been around for a long time. I don’t need to explain how old books are or how crucial they’ve been to the development of society. For the most part books have remained constant in the way they are presented. The only real way to challenge that is with the development of E-books, which isn’t exactly the evolution of a new medium but simply a new way to present the same thing. So will anything replace books?

I get skeptical when I hear someone saying books are dead. Books have become a crucial part of our society, if not already a part of our human nature. That’s why books are not dead, at least not for now. I can’t see anything coming along that would fully replace books as a source of entertainment. Nothing else is able to allow the imagination to set its own stage and create its own environment quite like a book does. Even if less people are reading, or how big the other forms of entertainment are, books will live as long as humans live.

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10 thoughts on “Evolution of Entertainment (The Death of Books)

  1. I think books will be safe for a while. From the standpoint nonfiction, they are still the best vehicle available for presenting complicated, nuanced arguments backed by substantive research. For entertainment purposes, fiction books are… well … still entertaining!

    What might die out though is the production of paperbacks. This is debatable, I concede. I don’t have any hard data on how reading habits have changed since the advent of the e-reader, but we might see the end of published print media and a total transition to electronic publishing.

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    • There was a lot of speculation on this when the original line or e-readers launched. I even thought so to be honest. But what we saw at first was that of course the e-reader market boomed, but along side it so did the physical book sales. And now we see this:
      http://time.com/3661173/book-sales-increase-ereaders-slump/
      I think if anything the e-reader market not only revived books, but more importantly it revived the spirit of books. Maybe we’ve reached the point that anyone that wants an e-reader already has owns one. I have a kind Kindle, and while I don’t mind downloading some free books in public domain, I’ll always prefer the feel of a hardback book.

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  2. I agree with you when you say “Nothing else is able to allow the imagination to set its own stage and create its own environment quite like a book does,” and I think that’s an important thing for the human brain to experience. However I don’t think that means that books can’t die, or aren’t dead. Most people do most of their reading online now. Few people have the patience for a book anymore. Books have huge value, but that doesn’t mean they can’t die.

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    • Thank you for the input. I’ve been thinking of this topic a little more lately, and I think I’ll write a follow-up article specifically on the state of books. I’ve thought of a few more reasons books will live on, at least for a little longer.

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  3. Reblogged this on news waves nigeria and commented:
    Entertainment has evolved truly with the transformations that we see science & technology give birth to, & that also has affected the format with which a traditional book appears. Ebooks has made it more easier to keep & have collection of books, this I appreciate so much. Movies, drama & music can’t replace the role of book reading in relaxation entertainment, which is not just only entertainment but, an opportunity to build ones intellect.

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  4. I have to disagree with you regarding song lyrics. Song lyrics are written in a way that conforms to the music it accompanies. And, most song lyrics are genre specific. Now, this is not to say that there haven’t been exceptions to this rule, however, most of the time music (and song lyrics) are written with a specific (or general) economic goal in mind. Conversely, poets do not write for economic gain. They may, however, try to conform to genre conventions. But, based off my own observations in reference to the poetry that I have read, conformity to genre is not a major factor in regards to the poetry being published today.

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    • I would have to disagree a little further. I’m a musician as well as a writer so I know something about this process. Songwriting has many of the same processes as poetry, you have to take into account which lines rhyme, how many beats there are and if they fit into the rhythm and so on. And many times after writing song lyrics you’ll find that once completed, it will have it’s own flow just as poetry does.

      Going a little further music is no stranger to the poet either. Take into account the art of lyric poetry. The poets would write the poet would write his/her poetry to the accompaniment of a stringed instrument. This art predates modern songwriting.

      In a way conformity does matter to both arts. Musicians have certain fixed rhythms and rhyming schemes, as well as song structure. Poets have the same thing, with different structures and schemes. Take the sonnet for example, it requires an exact number of lines with specific rhyming placement, or a poem can be free form with no structure. Songs can be the same way with an exact verse-chorus structure or it can be more progressive, like many prog-rock songs I’ve listened to. I hardly think economic incentives for creating art separates what kind of art it is.

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