Nicholas Negroponte: The Physical Book Will Be Dead In 5 Years

Today at the Techonomy in Lake Tahoe, Maria Bartiromo sat down with a few panelists including Bill Joy, Kevin Kelly, Nicholas Negroponte, and 
Willie Smits.  The topic was the future of technology, and Negroponte had something very interesting to say.

He said that the physical book is dead.  According to him, people are going to have a hard time accepting it, but it is happening.  Think about film and music.  Back in the ’80s, people like him were predicting that physical film was about to die, and companies like Kodak were denying it.  Back then, everything was physical, but things are changing now.  

By “dead”, he of course didn’t mean completely dead (at least right away).  Physical and electronic books are both available now, and he is predicting that electronic books will soon take over as the primary form.

“People will say ‘no, no, no’ — of course you like your libraries,” Negroponte said.  He then cited the fact that Kindle sales recently surpassed physical books sales.  “It’s happening.  It’s not happening in 10 years.  It’s happening in 5 years.”

What an interesting prediction.  I have no doubt in the world that he is right.


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