Convergences, Real and Imagined: A Conclusion | The Frankfurt Book Fair Blog

by Scott Smith

As this outburst of snark suggests, I’m skeptical about this kind of convergence. It is clear that there will be entire new mash-ups of text, image and sound—film created one, the mobile network will create another—but medium-based convergence is a dead-end. If adding video and audio to books were such a great idea, why didn’t publishers become movie studios in the 1940’s? The reality is that the lack of audio and video in book is a feature, not a bug. All art forms are defined as much by what they exclude as by what they include, by what is left out as much as what is put in, by performing addition by subtraction, by less being more. The rules of haiku, of villanelle, of science fiction all exist to describe what is disallowed so as to give the freedom of not-everything-being-possible to the artist.