The (Dead) Book

This blog is a companion to my book, The Book is Dead, Long Live the Book published by UNSW Press. It’s a provocation designed to further the conversation about the future of books. As its title suggests, I argue that book culture is dead; doomed by being tied to the printed object and the economics of scarcity that surround it. Book culture – great ideas and a deeper conversation – will only survive if we embrace the new media technologies of ebooks and electronic distribution.

You can download chapter 1 of the book as a pdf file here. Another chapter to come shortly.

Or you can get the p-book here! Or at amazon.

Book is Dead Cover

As for me, I’m Sherman Young – and I’m at at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. You can find more details here.


22 comments so far

  1. James on

    Hi Sherman,

    My sister got me this for xmas – and as an undergrad in communication(journalsim) studies, I look fowrad to furthering the discussion in an essay in the future.

    Letting you know I finsihed the book – ‘i found it hard to put down!’, haha.

    The book – or what the book does – i still believe is vitaly important.

    I intend to further the discussion amongst my peers if for no other reason than to sound more intelligent than them.

    I expect it will be most valuable in future debates over beers when anybody mentions anything about reality TV.


    James Nicolson

    P.S. Did you coin the phrase ‘the heavenly library’? Brilliant words. They have a power, these words …..

  2. Krissy Kneen on

    I have almost finished your book (in two exciting sittings) and I am all fired up. I am a writer/bookseller/micro-publisher and above all, reader. Your book has articulated much of my own thinking and added to it in surprising ways. I am force-feeding it to all my fellow booksellers and writer friends. I have emerged from my reading feeling over-stimulated and very excited. The future of the book is an exciting thing. You may also be interested in this article, although you have probably already read it. Well done on a book that is funny, insightful and exciting. You can look up my blog on our bookshop website on if you are interested in my thoughts that I have shared with our customers.

  3. Alena on

    I think I definitely need your book. I am so lucky I don’t have to wait until it is available in our bookstores, because I can order it wia Internet. And again I am so lucky there is something like Internet, bacause otherwise I probably wouldn’t know about this book until it is translated to my language. I will prefer the printed version though:)

  4. Juan Chulilla on

    I am really interested in your book, but I really would like to buy it as a e-book and not as a p-book. Have you considered the option of publishing it via mobipocket or another DRM-protecting format?



  5. shermanfyoung on

    Hi Juan

    Yeah, I’ve considered the option – I’m keen to provide it electronically, but I need to negotiate these things with my publisher!! I’ll post to the blog when I’ve sorted something out!!



  6. […] segment has echoes of Sherman Young’s The Book is Dead, but also emphasises the fact that the nature of reading and writing as cultural activities are […]

  7. Rosie on

    Ok. The print v electronic debate is a long standing one between hubby and I. You’ve managed to make me be a little more rational towards Sir Ebook’s point of view. I won’t be a complete convert however, until two problems are solved.

    1. How does one study using ebooks? Somehow “alt tabbing” between windows doesn’t seem as comfy as laying volumes around your desk. Perhaps I’d get over this if the ebooks all had “find” functions. That’d be wonderful.

    2. Someone invents a screen that is easy to read off. I can’t even read my mobile phone screen unless the light is shining the right way. Victor Hugo would certainly be a challenge.

    Anyway, your book has both intrigued and depressed me, so I’m feeling a bit lost now. Never mind, I have a huge stack of library books sitting next to me. I guess they’ll cheer me up.

  8. shermanfyoung on

    Hi Rosie

    Interestingly, I find it easier to study using electronic sources – the boxes of photocopied articles, post-it notes in books etc are condensed into a virtual stack of pdf material all searchable via keyword – in particular going back to source material years later is much easier!! And some of the new screens are actually *really*good. The e-ink screens on Amazon’s kindle and Sony’s reader have been getting really positive reactions, and the newer phones and ipods are terrific. Maybe once you get through that stack of library books, we’ll shift you a little more 🙂



  9. Lee on

    I hope you’re going to be putting more chapters online soon. As an indie writer who publishes online (my POD edition of MORTAL GHOST is purely a reader-service adjunct to the e-version), I’m very interested in the print vs. electronic debate.

  10. […] But it’s still impressive, given the miserable economy, which has harmed p-book sales. I suspect things are the same in many other countries: P hurtin’, E growin’. New platforms, ranging from the Kindle to the improved iPhone, have helped immensely. Long term, more people are accustoming themselves to reading off screens. Check out 7 year old fives Sony Reader thumbs up, from Sherman Young, author of The Book Is Dead, Long Live the Book. […]

  11. Jesper Bove-Nielsen on

    The first chapter is fantastic. Anybody who loves Mcluhan will have to read this. An ebook version, pdf or whatever would have been great though or even better – a free version like

    All the best – Jesper

  12. […] counter thesis, well supported in reality, is apparent and provoked. But the discourse itself is an elephant or gorilla in the […]

  13. Charlie on

    I stumbled on your book while browsing through Waverly library and couldn’t put it down. Love the idea of anti-books. I just went through my bookshelf and cleared out all the anti-books and took them down to my local secondhand bookshop who didn’t want them so I had to give them to the Vinnies!

    Where do you stand on the parallel importation debate?

  14. Jaky Troy on

    Hi Sherman, I am studying teaching at Uni of Canberra and found your book as I browsed the library stacks (still stacked in spite of the doomsday scenario!). I am doing a research project through my lecturer Steve Shann, with all my cohort about the nature and definition/redefinition of writing. I just loved your statements about everyone being a writer but where are the readers now? for books particularly. It was really useful in helping me focus my thinking. What is writing anyway – your next book?

  15. Phillip A. Ellis on

    I’ve just reread your book, after buying that copy (I got myself a copy after borrowing the book at the local library). It’s inspiring me to plan to publish e-books of poetry. I’m happy to get some feedback from youre suggested page sizes.


  16. […] book currently doing the rounds at CCH Australia is “The Book is Dead, Long Live the Book” by Professor Sherman Young. Sherman is something of an expert on new media and the impact it is […]

  17. Lisa Hill on

    Hello Sherman, I’ve just read your book and enjoyed it very much. You might like to see my review: See
    Lisa Hill, ANZ LitLovers

  18. shermanfyoung on

    Hi Lisa

    Thanks for the review. Glad you enjoyed the book. You’re right about needing an update – once they’ve invented cloning and doubled me, and my available time 🙂



  19. Hayley Coombes on

    Hello Sherman,

    I confess I am only 36 pages into your book, having only bought it today at a sale at UNSW, but I am enjoying it immensely. I don’t always agree with everything written, at least thus far; as a devoted reader and writer myself (unpublished, but hey) and someone who is juggling a Bachelor of Media with two jobs at two bookshops, I find myself on the defensive side that books, as both objects and ideas, aren’t dead, but “The Book is Dead” is incredibly thought-provoking.


  20. Lincoln Then James on

    Hi Sherman

    I, rather serendipitously, found your book at a second-hand bookstore. It has been such a help with my Media Studies essays; and as an avid reader myself it really is very thought-provoking.

    I really hope the Heavenly Library sees reality!



  21. Edward Baueris on

    Hi Sherman

    I just finished reading your book, which I borrowed from Wellington City Library in NZ 🙂 Not only was it a great read with some valid points raised, but I am especially pleased this blog is still running after 5 years, as it really shows your commitment.

    I am getting back into reading “books” more seriously after a few years of only reading occasionally, and am always flirting with the idea of getting a kindle. Maybe this xmas I will take the plunge, but until then I have a big pile of unread dead tree books to get through.

    All the best


  22. […] yet, as Sherman Young convincingly affirms in his book The book is dead, the only way for the book to survive is if book lovers embrace […]

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