I’d never given written text verses hypertext a great deal of though until this article. I’d never really thought about the differences and I think the reason may have to do with Microsoft Word. This is one of the first programs I ever used as far as I can remember or at least the most frequently used. Going from word to paper, the two always seemed to be the same entity, and I suppose in a way they are but not in the way I had assumed. The fact that hypertext takes up no physical space is in itself a very big difference.
In my opinion, hypertext seems to be a lot more efficient, malleable, and creative. Being able to engage actively in the text is also another major difference. User responses to a book are limited without the internet or hypertext for instance. A book club is a form of reflection, but that reflection can be taken to a much larger scale in hypertext. Because of this, it can take away from the value or the legitimacy of the text since just about anyone can “publish” anything.
I don’t think this is a bad thing at all. Everyone should be able to express themselves and people should have the right to choose what they deem to be important or legitimate. If someone posts some article claiming to be the Messiah, I’m obviously either not going to read it or take it with a grain of salt. I do see potential where it can be abused though to spread rumors or false information.
In all, hypertext makes works more accessible to everyone and allows those who don’t have access to a printing press or music studio to produce works. I don’t think however that written text will ever be completely replaced because novels are to me meant to be read much differently than reading anything digitally. I would never want to read a book hunched over my computer straining my eyes and distracted by youtube.