Sunday Book-Thought 83

Despite the barrage of new media in the twentieth century, then, books have remained, to this day, the standard by which all else is judged. Socially, the seriousness associated with books and book learning is inculcated from an early age. Here the status accorded to the book in education is decisive. There is no doubt that compulsory education, now standard in all Western countries, did most to promote the book, structurally and formally, and to safeguard the position of reading. Thus the authority of books, based on the trust they inspire, is likely to remain a crucial factor in the foreseeable future. Film, radio, television changed the medium landscape, but the textual tower still stands to dominate it. The use of audio-visual mediums in the classroom always remained a form of icing on the cake, almost a concession to the need to prepare children for the existence of a less culturally elitist society outside the classroom. It has never seriously challenged the position of the book in the curriculum. Even today the reliance on books has hardly diminished yet. E-learning is still at an experimental stage. Even apart from print mediums, text is everywhere. The daily barrage of textual signs, advertising leaflets, forms, food packaging, subtitles, instructions, and so on shows no sign of abating.
Adriaan van der Weel, Changing Our Textual Minds: Towards a Digital Order of Knowledge (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2011), p. 100.

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