Tuesday, April 21, 2009

OK, class, power up your books!

The university I’m working at is considering e-textbooks. I’m not sure in what way they’re being considered, as such conversations seem to be carried out only among other people, far away from my ears.

I like the idea of e-readers and e-books in general, as I love my music media player and I’d love the portability of an e-reader. But I also dislike the idea of being tied to energy for everything I do. I hate the idea of a book that would be tied in this way to technology. It seems frighteningly un-durable.

That’s the e-reader, I know e-books are different animals. But the idea of an Internet-based book, while wonderful in the way of delivering crazy amounts of content (videos! flashing lights!), is also tied to a portal.

What is the future about to bring to us?

Anyway, a friend sent me this link, and I thought it would be nice to toss it up on the blog.

From The Wall Street Journal:


Here’s a snippet:

“Because they have been largely walled off from the world of hypertext, print books have remained a kind of game preserve for the endangered species of linear, deep-focus reading. Online, you can click happily from blog post to email thread to online New Yorker article -- sampling, commenting and forwarding as you go. But when you sit down with an old-fashioned book in your hand, the medium works naturally against such distractions; it compels you to follow the thread, to stay engaged with a single narrative or argument… As a result, I fear that one of the great joys of book reading -- the total immersion in another world, or in the world of the author's ideas -- will be compromised. We all may read books the way we increasingly read magazines and newspapers: a little bit here, a little bit there.”


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