Below is an [unedited] epic comment to a phrase that Loren happened to use in a recent post. Elsewhere, I have also mused "I wonder when literature became disposable." Let me know what you think. Am I right? Am I wrong?
Yes, when we are talking about paper and pasteboard, hardbound printed pieces. We have been for years. In chronological order, the role that the popular novel (and poetry tome) once played has been filled by radio, movies, television and the internet. While movies come early in the chronology, they are still an active literature source today.
In fact, I hold that movies are the literature of the 20th century, but novels and short stories offer something that movies and television cannot. Movies and television bring to the viewer a fully realized and complete imagined world with definite rules and characters and progression. Paper-based stories offer an array of options, interpretations, envisionings.
For instance, I had the pleasure of reading the first few Harry Potter books before the movies came out. I had the joy of building the world along with the book, picturing the smudge on Ron's face, the unruly hair and ragged clothes of Harry and the wild hair and horsey teeth of Hermione. Not to mention the vast unexplored environs of Hogwarts. Yes, the books had cover art and probably chapter heading illustrations, but I have always laid more weight on the word than on drawings.
With the brilliant success of the movies, you can't read a HP book without picturing Rupert Grint's smudge-free face, Daniel Radcliffe's stylized hair and wardrobe and Emma Watson's curls and perfect teeth.
I'm not saying there are no great movies, nor am I saying the printed word is dead. But an ink and paper story has to offer something that engages, involves and invites the reader to participate.
Reading is a participation sport, movies and television are attendance only.