Books: The Ancient and Ultimate Document Viewer?

Isaac Asimov once wrote an essay called “The Ancient and the Ultimate” (collected in “The Tragedy of the Moon” and “Asimov on Science”). He wrote it in response to the notion that some high-tech document viewer like video cassettes might someday replace books. He considers what might be the ultimate document viewer. One that is totally powered by its user, that does not need any external energy source, that is very portable, and that is very unobtrusive. He asks when we might get such a viewer.

I have an answer for that, too, and a quite definite one. We will have it in minus five thousand years–because what I have been describing… is a book!

Or is it?

Continue reading