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Monday, March 08, 2010

e-books vs. books in print

From the March 8th edition of Shelf Awareness, Volume 2/Issue 1131

In the Globe and Mail, Russell Smith lamented the effect of e-books on personal book collections, writing in part:"So we lose forever the pleasure known to humanity for 500 years of taking a stroll up and down the aisles of someone else's brain by perusing their bookshelves. Gone will be the guilty joy of spending a rainy afternoon at a cottage with the remnants of someone else's childhood: their Nancy Drews, their 1970s National Geographics. Without bookshelves, you will never know the warning signs contained in the e-reader of your handsome date--you will not know for months that he is reading The Secret and Feng Shui for Dummies, even if you stay over. You will never be able to ask, as casually as you can, 'Did you like this?' as you pull down, as if fascinated, Patrick Swayze's autobiography."

And another article I enjoyed in the same issue...

Here's a nice story about nine-year-old Molly McArdle of Berkeley, Calif., as told by her father to Andy Weiner of Abrams:
"Molly was looking at my DVD box of Ken Burns's Baseball. She looked at the back and said, 'This is wrong.' I asked her what was wrong, and she said, 'It says that baseball is America's national pastime. America's national pastime is reading.'
"Weiner added that "Molly's heart was broken was Cody's closed, but she was restored when Books Inc. opened near where Cody's had been."

1 comment:

patrysia said...

I love books and words in all forms. I am currently reading a 1918 OOP title on my Kindle that I would NEVER be able to read elsewhere unless lucky enough to find one in a used bookstore (since the publishing industry does not deem it necessary to keep all titles in print forever and POD companies/titles are very small in number) and Ladies of Liberty, a hardcover I borrowed from the public library. I feel disloyal to neither.

My bookshelves, whether in paper or electronic, are not there to entertain someone else with insights into my soul, but for me. I look at my 20-year-old paperbacks bought at the PW, or newer books that are half that age, that are so brittle they are already falling apart (thanks to the cheap paper used by the major publishers) and realize that the publishing industry is not making me a product designed to last forever, or even one generation, nor are they giving me what I want to read. So I will search it out elsewhere.

I am not interested in the book as a thing to decorate with or impress anyone with, but as a thing that excites me with images, ideas, information. I really don't care what format it comes it if it can accomplish these simple things.

We value books differently, that's all. We look to the future differently, that's all. I will say it again, it's not either/or, it's both--at least for the forseable future. But twenty years down the road? Who knows? I do know that my BDD mystery paperback will have long disintegrated, but I will have been able to migrate my digital copy to whatever format is then being used and will still be able to enjoy that title.

You don't have to play with my Kindle when I visit for A's graduation this summer. I would never try to force my opinion on anyone else. It is perfect for me. So, for me, that's all that matters. By the way, I just downloaded a long OOP seminal descriptive volume on the Canyon de Chelly site that would, if one could even find a copy of it anywhere, start in the middle hundreds of dollars, and which I'd be too afraid to touch and destroy and therefore would never read and use. And I downloaded it for free.

Middle Sister