Out of Print

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Release date: April 25, 2013 (Tribeca Film Festival)
Directed by: Vivienne Roumani
Running time: 55 minutes

“Web to Book: Drop Dead” was one of the headlines amid the growing barrage of news stories and books about the imminent death of the written word and the inevitable migration of our personal and collective knowledge and memory to machines. Especially as a former librarian, this growing view about the impact of the digital revolution was deeply troubling to me. Is the book as we know it really dead? Is the question even important in an always-on, digital world? I set out on a quest to find out what it really means to us as individuals.

Meryl Streep (Narrator), John Perry Barlow, Jeff Bezos, Fred Bass, Ray Bradbury, Bryce Cahn, Darcie Chan, Jerrold Cooper, Robert Darnton, Craig Dykers, Jane Friedman, John Gabrieli, Donald Leu, Alberto Manguel, Cornelius Minor, Neveen Mourad, Ugo Rozzo, Arana Sharpiro, Shea Taylor, Jeffrey Toobin, Scott Turow, William Voelkle, Michael Wesch, Maryanne Wolf, Ira Wolfman

The complexity of the architecture of information became evident from the first interview: the bookseller led to the author, which led to the publisher, to the librarian, the reader, the pirate web site, the educator, the cognitive scientist; issues of copyright, preservation, knowledge, democratization, and diversity of access and sources were all intertwined. “Is the book dead?” was simply the starting point to get to the bottom of a time of transformation that ultimately affects every aspect of our society. The late Ray Bradbury, Authors Guild President Scott Turow, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, New Yorker and CNN analyst Jeffrey Toobin, are among the participants that helped me unravel the issues that impact the very core of our civilization. I hope that the clarity that Out of Print offers is a starting point around which we can engage in a candid and fruitful discussion that will help direct our future. “Out of Print” is narrated by Meryl Streep.