Of ebook readers and kindling

Yes, the Kindle; crazy name, crazy product?

There’s a lot of talk about it. There are essentially two camps:-

1. It’s great, a real space time and tree saver

2. It’s not great, a DRM’d up overpriced waste

I wonder if ebooks are an answer to a problem that doesn’t exist. Or, if it does exist, isn’t seen as so..problematic. People seem happy enough with print books, and the much vaunted advantages of ebooks don’t grab them. As was pointed out by an Amazon forum post, a lot of people don’t see the need to carry 200 books at a time.

As Michael notes, there is also the issue of public lending right for libraries to manage before they can really get on board with ebooks. And proprietary file formats are also a problem; which ones do you buy to lend?

As for me, I won’t be getting one. I can see its place in the information ecology that’s developing; as a reader for academic texts, for access to encyclopaedic information. It’s just not a need I have right now.

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2 Responses to Of ebook readers and kindling

  1. T Scott says:

    You’re the first person that I’ve seen address what I think is the key issue — what is the problem that e-book readers are trying to solve? Portable readers for textbook material & reference material will probably have tremendous value as time goes on — but the content itself will be less and less book-like. For the purposes for which most people actually read books (as opposed to referring to them for specific bits of information), whether they be fiction or non-fiction, the print book works spectacularly well and despite its advances over previous readers, the kindle is still not even close to “almost as good”.

  2. […] librarians” and “managerialism”, about the impending doom of us all due to e-books , the internet etc… and there is no shortage of interesting and often opinionated books on […]

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