Meaning of a sentence

I know what all the single words mean, but I’m still having trouble understand the sentence, please help!

“What’s the use of elaborating what, in its very essence, is so short-lived as a modern book?”

They are trying to say that it’s useless to elaborate a modern book, because public interest in a modern book doesn’t last long.

I think to elaborate a book means to write a lot of details in the book, but I’m not sure that’s what it means…is it?

Elaborate here means make more complex, intricate, or richer.

Hi cooliegirly,

My feeling is that in the sentence you have quoted, the verb elaborate has a sense of writing or speaking in more detail about something. The idea here is that the speaker feels there is not enough substance in a modern book for it to be considered worth discussing. The word elaborate often comes up in conversation or interviews. If the interviewer is not getting adequate answers from the interviewee, the standard question is: Can you elaborate? - meaning can you talk a little more on the subject.

Hope that helps a little.