Le Clezio, recipient of Nobel prize for literature: "books have played an essential role in the development of the world, by granting universal access to knowledge and turning it from the privilege of dominant classes into ordinary people's rights a role it performed especially well during Enlightenment.
Without printed books we would be living in a totally different world. It may prosper as well, but it will be a closed world resistant to progress, desperately imbalanced, filled with unfairness and injustice." He cites the ancient Mayan civilization as an example. What was once illuminating and ripe disappeared for want of print: "There was no democracy and hardly equality before the law while the quality of citizen dwelled on a relatively low level.
In such a world, knowledge would not serve interaction or social progress, but only draw a new line between those who have knowledge and those who don't There can still be marvellous wonders like the Pyramid, but the people will only build them like slaves, not understanding the meaning of their labor.
The book, however old-fashioned it may be, is the ideal tool. It is practical, easy to handle, economical. It does not require any particular technological prowess, and keeps well in any climate."