Today, to round-up our week of blog posts, Eurospan's Regional Manager for UK, Europe & Africa writes about the future of the academic book...

As Academic Book Week ends, what do we think this event will look like in ten or twenty years? Anyone who gives you a definitive answer to the question does, at best, have an unwarranted faith in their own capacity for foresight – either that or they are seriously deluded; the truth is we simply don’t know.

“Amazon will kill the bookshop”; it hasn’t. They may have had to reinvent the ways they do business, especially those specialising in academic books, but they have not gone away.

“e-books will kill print”; they haven’t. But they have established an important place in the information ecosystem.

“Digitisation and electronic delivery will mean libraries no longer need shelves”; they are still full of them. Oh, and lots of computer workstations as well.

“Students will want to access textbooks on their handheld devices”; they don’t. Well, only a small minority do. Honest. Try asking a few directly.

“All human knowledge will be available to be found online and will be free”; simply, NO.

With disruptive technologies, new market dynamics, changing habits, the known knowns, the known unknowns, the unknown unknowns, where will we be in 2025 and 2035? In the gloriously eclectic, creative, multifaceted world of the book, we can only guess. But so long as the publishing industry and we at Eurospan maintain our traditions for imagination, invention, reacting to the changing world as we find it and proactively addressing the problems it presents to us, continuing to satiate that great human hunger for learning and knowledge with the right materials packaged and delivered in the manners desired, we will still be here for Academic Book Weeks of the future.