Esquire Magazine, "Future Tense," March, 1985:

         
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         Travis Charbeneau  3421 Hanover Ave., Richmond, VA 23221
            travischarbeneau@gmail.com    Phone: 804 358 0417
                           www.travischarbeneau.com

                             The Book is Back
                             Travis Charbeneau
                              Slug "goodgut"
                                 196 words
     Goodbye Gutenberg, a 1980 book by Oxford futurist Anthony Smith,
heralded a supposed trend towards the death of the book, predicting that
readers would instead park themselves before their personal computer video
display.
     In fact the book is alive and well. The Book Industry Study Group
recently reported that total book sales increased from $5,061.9 million to
$7,977.9 million in the four-year span from 1979 to 1983. Additionally,
heavy readers (those whoíve read twenty-six or more books in the last six
months) doubled between 1978 and 1983, from 18 percent to 35 percent of all
book readers. Library visitation during the same period also increased,
with more books per visit being withdrawn: 1.8 books in 1978; 3.2 books in
1983.
     On the flip side, only one book, Burke Campbellís novel Blind Pharaoh,
was available in1983 on the Source, the Readerís Digest computer database
service. Of the twenty-four thousand Source subscribers at the time, fewer
than one hundred logged in to read the forty-page novella. The conclusion
seems to be that news and other data seem well suited to the electronic
environment, but for escapism, even most non-fiction readers still prefer
reading between the covers.