Ebook Readers: Why Do They Always Fail?

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  • Reply 41 of 49
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    The part of ourselves that co-create the books we read want heft and imperfection and mutability as necessary friction for our senses, a way of engaging with our bodies as well as our minds, is what I think. Reading a novel on an electronic screen is like trying to paint on formica- what's called for is something with some tooth to take the paint. Something for imaginations to soak into.



    You touchy-feely bastard!



    This isn't a matter of particular gravity to me, and I don't condemn your opinion at all, but I also don't think the market for eBooks is held back in a large way on account of some readers' perceived necessity of paper-borne stimuli during the reading process. By the time eBook readers are at a reasonable price-points and come in a variety of exciting form factors, it appears that major newspapers and magazines will already have methods in place for distributing content to them. Other forms or published media will follow, but newspapers need this: they are hemorrhaging money because nobody under 35 wants to carry around a cumbersome, filthy pile of newsprint.
  • Reply 42 of 49
    iposteriposter Posts: 1,560member
    Ah, I understand your point of view better now giant. The way you presented it earlier resulted in my misundersanding. I don't know anyone who works in the print industry, so I can't comment on your experiences there.
  • Reply 43 of 49
    midwintermidwinter Posts: 10,060member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    For me it has something to do with the way the narrative topography maps onto the physicality of the book.



    As you move through a novel, there is a constant sense of "where you are", respective of the entire arc of the thing. The accumulation of pages on the left, the erosion of pages on the right. If you choose to flip back or forward, that, too, is a gesture within "the thingness" of the book.



    In my experience of a novel, that literal marker of position within the book is inseparable from the feel of the movement of the narrative.



    I'm also reminded of the essay you recommended, some time ago, by Nicholson Baker on the passing of card catalogues.



    Attempting to translate the experience of a novel into an information retrieval system seems to me to engender some of the same kind of impoverishment Baker was describing. That we lose, for instance, the opportunities for serendipitous association and insight that come with thumbing through pages-- pages that likely bear the marks of use and some of the history of our (or others) encounter with the text. Dog eared pages, marginalia, coffee rings, ad hoc book marks, a spine that wants to open to that particular chapter.......



    The part of ourselves that co-create the books we read want heft and imperfection and mutability as necessary friction for our senses, a way of engaging with our bodies as well as our minds, is what I think. Reading a novel on an electronic screen is like trying to paint on formica- what's called for is something with some tooth to take the paint. Something for imaginations to soak into.



    Total bullshit.



  • Reply 44 of 49
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by midwinter View Post


    Total bullshit.







    God, don't I know it.



    Books are Information Retrieval Systems, and literature is information.



    Faster librarian, kill, kill!
  • Reply 45 of 49
    midwintermidwinter Posts: 10,060member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    God, don't I know it.



    Books are Information Retrieval Systems, and literature is information.



    Faster librarian, kill, kill!



    Bah. Books are information storage systems. Professors are the retrieval system.



    Seriously, though, I think that you're largely correct with the idea of books recording your progress through them and indicating that progress via a change in their physical shape.
  • Reply 46 of 49
    Sony's reader doesn't really do PDFs well. That's just insane. If I had a reader that would hold a few dozen papers, for instance, I could dispense with carrying things around.



    When they do backlit and PDF, I'll buy one.
  • Reply 47 of 49
    finboyfinboy Posts: 383member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by giant View Post




    Print industries have always struggled trying to understand technology and tend to try fitting in without actually changing. That's basically what we are seeing with "ebook" readers. No one knows what to make of them because no one has a good idea yet about what role such a device is supposed to fill and what problems it can solve. Yeah, the devices suck, but that's just one highly visible symptom of the overarching problem.



    What I've found (after years of working in academia and research-based fields) is that the LAST folks we need to ask about the tech/knowledge frontier are most so-called "librarians." Their specialization, their advantage is in finding and collecting and making accessible information, not technology per se. Yet I still see so much emphasis on process with them, and it's basically come to nothing. I hope that there is a core of folks in information science or library science working towards how we can manage knowledge/data, but I just don't see it going anywhere.
  • Reply 48 of 49
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by finboy View Post


    Sony's reader doesn't really do PDFs well. That's just insane. If I had a reader that would hold a few dozen papers, for instance, I could dispense with carrying things around.



    When they do backlit and PDF, I'll buy one.



    no you failed. at life.
  • Reply 49 of 49
    midwintermidwinter Posts: 10,060member
    Now this is interesting.
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