Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Finally! A chance to be positive.

By Rick Blechta

In searching around for a topic to write on this week (and the lateness of publishing this post will demonstrate how long my search took), I finally ran across something that is truly breathtaking – if you’re a bibliophile.

Here it is: Paper is back: Why ‘real’ books are on the rebound

I’ll wait while you read it.

I have heard it said that every new technological advance has to find its “place” among humanity. When television came along at the end of the 1930s everyone predicted the end of radio and cinema. Well, while they did take a hit initially, you can still use your radio and go to the movies, can’t you?

It appears that e-readers have begun to slip into their proper place. Many have tried them and found where they work and where they don’t, and it appears that paper books will still have a place among us, as will electronic books.

And that, to me, is a very Good Thing.

A long aside:

I was rather astonished when I came to the final section of this article where the author talks about studies that found people don’t view ownership of e-books as anywhere near as permanent as paper books.

The perception is true.

What many people are not aware of is that software (and that includes e-book files) are often not “bought”, merely licensed. For instance, I don’t actually own any of the software on my computer. It is all “on loan” for lack of a better term from the producers. This way of doing business has been extended into e-book publishing, maybe not completely, but near enough. The books themselves might not have a license applied by the publisher, but many re-sellers (say, Amazon) are using this approach. It’s another way of controlling what they sell you. (If there was fine print added to the sale of anything you buy on the internet, there’s a good chance you’re merely licensing the product. In no way shape or form do you own it. Read the fine print if you don’t believe me.)

Fortunately, with older technologies (like paper books), they haven’t been able to figure out a way to do this.

But I also assume that somewhere a person is working in a room trying to figure out a way to license that paperback you picked up at the airport today…


Aline Templeton said...

I always think that reading an ebook is like smoking without inhaling.

Rick Blechta said...

E-books have their place. I remember spending a small fortune every year of university on textbooks -- and then having to lug them around. I would gladly use e-books in this situation. When travelling, e-readers are very convenient.

But for sheer pleasurably reading, I'd rather have paper in my hands.

As my post says, I think we're finding equilibrium in the paper versus electronic book world, as we did with other new technologies.

Eileen Goudge said...

I love my e-reader, but I think there's room for both. I find the e-reader easier on my eyes, but I love seeing rows of books on my shelves. Nice to know the rumored "death" of print was exaggerated.

Rick Blechta said...

What kind of e-reader do you have, Eileen? I have a Kobo (I won it!) and I find it harder on my eyes than paper (as long as the typesetting and printing are good enough).