What do the above have in common? They're all 1,000 years old or older (in the case of the Cuneiform stone, close to 4,000 years old). As the publishing world breathlessly awaits the latest eDevelopment, I find myself wondering about the future of today's books. I embrace digital technology every day, enjoy eBooks and believe they have a variety of uses and loads of potential for readers and writers.
However. Ask my audio engineer hubster how easily it is to get music or audio off an old 8-track tape or cassette. How many times has he tried to rescue something from a reel-to-reel tape, only to have it disintigrate? How many records has he painstakingly restored with a laser turntable, to find some parts just can't be decoded? DAT tape? Hardly anyone has DAT players anymore. CDs certainly aren't permanent.
Even in today's eBook realm, not every book can be read on every device due to the differences in software, hardware and formatting (.azf? .opf? tr2? chm? PDF?). Will our ancestors a thousand years from now have the technology to scan these binary bits when our current technology seems as ancient as a stone and chisel?
What do you think? How permanent are today's books—digital or print (those not published on acid-free or high-quality paper)?