One of the most interesting documentaries developed in the last few years focuses on the journey of the book through the digital revolution. Out of Print is currently making its way on the film festival circuit and features interviews with Jeff Bezos, Ray Bradbury, Scott Turow, Jeffrey Toobin, and is narrated by Meryl Streep. There is also a wide array of other authors, writers and digital companies that contribute their thoughts to the motion picture.
Out of print looks into the growing tide of print and digital books in our society and looks at the current state of affairs where internet use and how the next generation is finding all of their answers online. According to the film, 2005 was a tipping point of sorts, as it was then when adolescents’ use of the Internet for reading surpassed the use of traditional books. Many kids in the film show their disdain of visiting a library or reading a full book and would much rather Google the facts.
Director Vivienne Rouman in a recent interview explained the premise of the documentary, “I wanted to invite more people to join the discussion. I was struck by the plethora of books and articles predicting the death of the book. Is the book really dying? If so, what did that mean? Secondly, I had been in library management at three major research libraries, and I had been directly involved with digitization. We librarians were toggling between the two worlds very well—we felt that neither had the full exclusive benefits. Thirdly, and most importantly, I am concerned about our children and their ability or motivation to take the time to engage in deep, long text that leads to independent thinking and true knowledge.”