Eco's profound ideas about books and writing as an extension of the hand make me wish I were a sponge. His words make me thirsty. He described writing as "almost biological in it's evolution. It is the communication tool most closely linked to the body. Once invented, it could never be given up… Our modern inventions — cinema, radio, Internet — are not biological."
Stories and storytelling are within us all as humans. We communicate and express ourselves through story to connect with our emotions and purposes. We use story to ask questions or defend beliefs. Man has been telling stories for as long as we've existed. And because of that, he invented the portable way to transport these stories easily from one place to another. Man created a mobile item that can be hugged, torn, borrowed, and sold... and it is perfect. So the idea that books, whether they be in paper or on digital devices, cannot ever be improved, can be daunting.
For me this concept is not discouraging. It presents a challenge to me as an author to strive for. I don't try to create something "new", I try to create something worthy. Stories worthy of the greatness of the book itself. In that effort, I work towards an unimprovable story within me. I have not found it yet... but I do love challenges.
"One of two things will happen: either the book will continue to be the medium for reading, or its replacement will resemble what the book has always been, even before the invention of the printing press. Alterations of the book-as-object have modified neither its function nor its grammar for more than 500 years. The book is like the spoon, scissors, the hammer, the wheel. Once invented, it cannot be improved. You cannot make a spoon that is better than a spoon. When designers try to improve something like the corkscrew, their success is very limited; most of their “improvements” don’t even work. Philippe Starck attempted an innovative lemon-squeezer; his version was very handsome, but it lets the pits through. The book has been thoroughly tested, and it’s very hard to see how it could be improved on for its current purposes. Perhaps it will evolve in terms of components; perhaps the pages will no longer be made of paper. But it will still be the same thing." - Umberto Echo
Amazon - https://goo.gl/c2r0ob
Barnes & Noble - http://goo.gl/NkIuLV
iTunes - https://goo.gl/FfpMxr
Kobo - https://goo.gl/3KYEeD