The novel has been declared dead over 30 times since 1902 by prominent people in the industry. The Guardian, New York Times and the Observer have all declared at one point that books are on the decline, yet in 2015 they are still around.
Novels are a relatively new format, although storytelling has been going on since the dawn of humankind. The first precursor of the novel has to be the Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote that was published in 1605. Likely, it is the highest selling book of all time, other than the bible.
Critics and industry pundits have declared the novel is dead for almost a century. The most common reasons are the rise of e-books, audiobooks, newspapers and magazines. Lets look at the top 30 notable people who said the novel is dead.
August 20, 1954— Harold Nicholson says the novel is dead in The Observer.
Fall 1955— Norman Mailer says the novel is dead.
October 28, 1965 — Frank Kermode says the novel is always dying in the New York Review of Books.
June 21, 1992 — Robert Coover says that all books are dying in The New York Times.
September 26, 1992‚— William Grimes says the novel is dying but not dead in The New York Times.
December 24, 2007– Caleb Crain says the novel is dying in The New Yorker.
November 20, 2008— Zadie Smith says the novel is dying in The New York Review of Books.
October 29, 2009— Phillip Roth says the novel is dead in an interview.
July 3, 2010—Lee Seigel declares the novel dead in The Observer.
August 22, 2011—Evan Morrison says the novel might be dead in The Guardian.
October 31, 2011— Mark Bauerlein says the novel is declining in Minding the Campus.
January 13, 2013— Sam Byers says the novel is dying on Salon.
May 2, 2014— Will Self says the novel is REALLY dead in The Guardian.
May 4, 2014— A twitter is created to chronicle the Death of the Novel.
May 15, 2014— Scott Christian says the novel is dead in GQ.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.