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Reflection: What Do Books Do For Society?

By Bookaholic @BookReflections
Reflection: What Do Books Do For Society?
Whelp.  Time for another reflection post.  Now this question is a bit vague but it is a real question that when I really think, I find it difficult to answer.
My question is:  What do books do for society?
Okay.  Before we get started, I just want to clarify what I mean.  I'm not asking what books do for book lovers (cause I kind of think we are different) and I thinking this list is wide-ranging.  What I'm really talking about is society as a whole...and then again, maybe it is the same...but I am not sure.
For example, books are my entertainment, so maybe it brings more entertainment to society.  But I have a problem with this as new kinds of entertainment is developed every day and I think books (okay I'm biased) are way more than Nintendo Wiis, movies, music, etc.  Learning can still occur right (podcasts, PowerPoints, Movies, etc.)?
So put another way, what would happen to society without books?  Writing would still be present as manuscripts become movies and poetry becomes music, and etc.
I think there is something special about books that I just can't put my finger on.  It all seems to get lost in the entertainment of it all.  So tell me what you think...
To emphasize my rather vague and strange question, I have attached the ending of a Twilight Zone episode. 
A little context: This poor fellow loves to read but no one will let him read.  His wife scribbled in his books so that he can't read the text.  He tries to discuss books and people tell him he's crazy and wasting his time.  No one wants to hear it.  Watch what happens...

What do books do for society?  And what would happen without them?

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