Recently I heard a librarian talk about fears that libraries would become obsolete.
As you might expect, that got me thinking about James Bond.
Specifically, Bond movie THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH. It’s considered to be one of the weaker Bond films, but I like it, and I do like the music, especially from the scene when Bond uses a jetski to chase an assassin down the Thames. When I bought the soundtrack, all the metadata for the tracks was set as “Music From The MGM Motion Picture The World Is Not Enough”. So when I want to listen to it, I don’t scroll through my music library looking for “James Bond” or “The World Is Not Enough”, I have to scroll until I find “Music From The MGM Motion Picture.”
Which is really odd, because the phrase “motion picture” is kind of an archaism, isn’t it? Like calling a car a horseless carriage or referring to the radio as wireless telegraphy. A movie made in 2016 is still technically a motion picture, but it has very little in common in the way that the original “moving pictures” were made.
That’s true of my books as well. According to the data I have, most people who have read the FROSTBORN series did so on Kindles, Kindle Fires, iPads, and various Android tablets. Ten years ago none of that stuff existed, and twenty-five years ago, the act of reading on a tablet would not have been recognizable as actually reading something. Nonetheless, it is still the same thing. Vastly different, but still essentially the same activity.
So I doubt libraries are going to become obsolete. They’re going to change dramatically, in much the same way that a movie like THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH is vastly different than a “moving picture” from the 1920s, in much the same way that reading the FROSTBORN series now is different than the way you would have read it if I had written it in the 1980s. The library of the future will be different, but it won’t go away.
If you like libraries, you should read my FROSTBORN books because the characters talk about books.