It's a shame his speech really seemed sad. And didn't paint a good future for horticulture experts to impart their knowledge - I'd have loved to have seen him use this as a platform to inspire rather than deflate future garden educators.
And in terms of the death of paper books in favour of ebooks? I think the Kindle and iPad are perfect substitutes for disposable books. You know, those cheap paperbacks you get and carry around with you and ultimately end up donating to the library? Being able to impulse-buy without waiting for delivery has actually increased my book consumption significantly, and I think many books benefit quite a bit from the flexibility of a digital environment.
What they do not replace is the thoughtfully printed book. Well-bound, well-set books are not going anywhere because they are an art and an experience unto themselves. These are the books I think people are really attached to, and will live on no matter how compelling e-books become.
Many acclaimed garden authors are now imparting their knowledge through online courses on http://www.my-garden-school.com/courses (eg Noel Kingsbury, John Brookes (80)
and others). And other great digital ways of imparting knowledge from such experts will continue to evolve. Part of the problem is some traditional book publishers are afraid and defensive because they don't really understand new media. Harsh but fair . Ebooks aren't going away. But in the same way that the television didnt replace the radio, real books and ebooks will co-exist; ebooks will evolve and find their own (probably situation based) use
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