Since starting Lit Drift, I’ve gotten used to reading a lot of doom-and-gloom opinion pieces about the death of the publishing industry. I’ve read predictions that the paperbound book will be totally replaced by digital books within the decade, or that we’ll all stop buying books and forget how to read, and so on. Most of it I’ve taken with a grain brick of salt, because I think at this point in our current techno-literary revolution it is far too early to tell where we’ll be in five–let alone ten–years.
Still, I can’t shake my anxiety after reading this recent article from The Guardian, in which Philip Roth–one of my favorite writers–says that the novel will be a “cult minority” in 25 years. He attributes the decline of the novel to the popularity of film, TV, and computers. It’s not the first time I’ve heard claims like this. But it’s unnerving to hear it from Roth.
“The book can’t compete with the screen. It couldn’t compete [in the] beginning with the movie screen. It couldn’t compete with the television screen, and it can’t compete with the computer screen,” Roth said. “Now we have all those screens, so against all those screens a book couldn’t measure up.”
Maybe I’ve been living in a happy non-reality for the last two decades, but I don’t think that’s entirely true. So as much as I love Philip Roth, I have to respectfully disagree. Read more »