The death of the book has been overdone. Sales of physical books, with the smell and touch of paper, continue to be robust while the younger generation counterbalances its use of Kindles and other digital devices. Certainty, if the London Book Fair at Olympia this week is anything to go by, the book is alive and well all across the world, from Mexico to Russia, from Scotland to China.
All the main halls in Olympia in west London were taken over the London Book Fair, one of just many that will happen across the globe as publishers and book sellers meet up and review what is new, in their native language or in English. Children’s book’s which have artistic and graphic qualities are still popular with the younger generation, complimenting digital media, not being replaced by it. If anything is under threat, it must be the academic book as the prices of print soars. Things are changing and there are more independent publishers challenging the large firms as the technology of design and printing has transformed in the 21st century.
Moving across London, away from Olympia to Excel in east London, there was a different world, the world of the Cloud and of Data Centres, but there were also international challenges. The first question for any organisation is why to have its own data centre, with all the security and risk that goes with it; the second is where to outsource it – with modern technology, it could be in Iceland, Switzerland or Luxemburg. The world of the Cloud is international.
Wherever the data centre is, however, there is an engineering challenge. Power demands for data centres are immense, so manufacturer are looking at ever-more efficient energy generators, heat recovery, cooling systems, battery back-ups, stand-by energy and water supplies, with self-contained and extendible computer racks that can be hired and extended by companies as their needs change. Of course, security is key and will be increasingly so as cyber attacks, false news and other security issues increase not just from criminals but, apparently from government and security agencies. Is your TV watching you as you watch it?
Two different but interconnected worlds, both in rude health. The Cloud and data centres continues in importance, but the books industry remains robust, learning how to use new technology such as digital and social media as a partner, not a replacement.