Both in its print and digital editions, The Economist is well known for its articles on world events, politics, and business, together with regular sections on science and technology as well as books and the arts. This alone would be enough to draw the attention of many of its readers to its recent online essay on the future of books which starts with references to the old handwritten books of the Roman times and ends up discussing the future of print books, ebooks, Amazon, audiobooks, ereading, self publishing and the like.

The article is quite long but its authors and designers had a fantastic idea to make it more appealing. They presented it not just as a “normal” article” but as something which ressembles a book and which can be read in three different ways: as a book (by turning the “pages” with the computer’s mouse), as an audiobook, or as a scrolling text!

As for the article itself, its main conclusion is that printed books are here to stay, for a long time at least, but that along with them we are going to see an increasing variety of books, and of book publishing too. As Russell Grandinetti, who oversees Amazon’s Kindle business, puts it, the print book is “a really competitive technology”: it is portable, hard to break, has high-resolution pages and a “long battery life”.

Read the essay.