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Old 09-25-2009, 05:19 AM   #16
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I miss the smell of stone tablets... especially damp ones. It's better than technology today, you can read in the bath, and if you drop it you don't need to buy a new tablet. Just a new bath and maybe new legs.

All those poor chisellers out of work as well. Nobody thinks of them!
I say, stone tablets are even better for conservation (inner historian: yay, more sources!). And surely, you'd have nicely muscled historians if humanity'd just stick to that medium! Now, having working archives would be a bit more problematic, but at least some archivist would have a real reason to be always morose, after moving all that
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Old 09-25-2009, 05:20 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Teyrnon View Post
Yes, books smell. Some books have really different smells. The inks or paper or something. In one case the smell of a particular book reminds me of the store I bought it in. That said, smelly books are overrated.

Given the troubles I've been having with allergies and sinuses this past couple years I think getting away from the smell of books is a pretty good idea. I just want to read.
And dust. Doesn't anyone think of dust?
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Old 09-25-2009, 08:05 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by nomesque View Post
Mmmm, I get a little grumpy with these sort of arguments too. My primary interest in books is the story/information. That's what I want. The smell, the 'experience' ... meh, whatever. On the bright side, it's good to know that there'll be people lining up to buy my books when I replace them with ebooks...
Did you read the blog post. I thought there was some good arguments in it. And the smell was not an argument:
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Yes, I know I have a strong attachment to the old “scrolls” which is what the principal compared books to. Guilty as charged. I love the texture of paper, the act of turning pages, even the smell of books–well, most books anyway. But I have to remember, that may only be a sentimental attachment on my part, and a new generation of readers may not have this attachment at all.
New reader might not have that attachment so this is not an argument for paper books.

But I think the following might be a good argument (it is definitely a good argument if a paper book is compared ti a Gen 3):
Quote:
My first thought was that there is a certain spatial awareness that plays into my understanding of a story. I am at the beginning. The middle. So close to the end. Three pages left. Omigod, I’m almost there. The end. Sigh.

Didn’t mean to get carried away there, but there is a spatial quality to a book as I read and flip back and forth, rereading passages. On a computer you can flip back and forth too, and maybe seeing the page number or scroll bar at the side is enough for some readers, but on a computer, one page is the same as another, its place within a book doesn’t stand out. I write my entire books for the most part on a computer, but periodically I have to print it out to really “see” the story, and to understand its progression. Reading it is on a computer is not enough to grasp the story as a whole. I can’t help but feel the reading experience of an electronic book might too closely resembles the reading experience of surfing for information online, where pages encourage skimming, while real paper slows us down and encourages lingering. But again, playing devil’s advocate, this may just be my own perception developed through habit and tradition.
I think this argument is correct and I am waiting for better user interfaces to ebooks before I give up on paper books.
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Old 09-25-2009, 11:07 AM   #19
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Books definately have a smell.

New books smell like ink and paper.

Older books can smell like anything from cigarette smoke to that manky funk they develop when the glue and paper begin to deteriorate. I have a few antique books that have that lovely reek of deteriorating animal-based glue.

I like ebooks better.

One of the common arguments for pbook over ebook is that pbooks can survive centuries.

Maybe this was true when they were hand written on parchment.

Modern paper deteriorates very quickly compared to parchment or clay or stone tablet.

Perhaps, if people want to ensure that books popular now would outlive our civilization, then maybe the Library of Congress should produce one copy of each book on acid-etched stainless steel, or a similar long-lived substance.

But only one copy would be needed.

Not everyone needs to own a physical copy that will outlast nuclear winter, or that could be launched into deep space for aliens to find one day.
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Old 09-25-2009, 11:31 AM   #20
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Once ebooks have the readability and navigability of paper, I'll be all for them. Smell is one thing I like to check when I buy paper books, but I won't buy a nice-smelling book with bad printing on bad paper.
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Old 09-25-2009, 11:45 AM   #21
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This makes me think of a piece I read last night by a guy claiming that books involve all five senses. I rarely notice the smell of books, unless they are MOLDY books. I'm not sure about the "sound" of books, either. And I'm only partially concerned about "feel" (I like a nice burlappy cloth cover.) But TASTE? Who the frack TASTES their books? Who says "wow, that was a great book-- I think I'll lick it!"

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Old 09-25-2009, 04:11 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Mare of Earth View Post
One of the common arguments for pbook over ebook is that pbooks can survive centuries.
Yes, and a common aspect of that is a claim that files from 20 or 30 years ago are unreadable and useless today. This is something I feel compelled to address. I've had a computer, of one type or another since 1981. I've been using computers for word processing for as long. Over the years I've moved stuff I wanted to save to new formats and storage media as hardware and software changed. I still have short stories, book reports, diaries, and term papers and what not I wrote on my very first home computer. I can still view and edit them on my current computers just as I could a quarter century ago.

Computer files can be preserved with diligence and forethought. It isn't even terribly difficult. In the early days I used 8" disks, then 5.25" disks, then 3.5" disks, zip disks, and eventually CD and DVD-ROMs. Sure, I've lost stuff to the media fade which magnetic media succumbs to over the decades. But it was stuff I didn't think was important and didn't move to new media as quickly as I did the stuff that was important.
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Old 09-25-2009, 06:27 PM   #23
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Did you read the blog post.
Yes. And I found his attachment to the peripherals of book-reading irritating. As I find "did you even read that?" questions irritating
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Old 09-25-2009, 06:50 PM   #24
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Damn stone tables for usurping the cave drawings.
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Old 09-25-2009, 06:55 PM   #25
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Yes. And I found his attachment to the peripherals of book-reading irritating. As I find "did you even read that?" questions irritating
Well, since the article explicitly said that for example the smell thing was a personal thing and unimportant I do not get why everybody in this thread talks about smell since it was not used as an argument.

For me knowing how thick (long) the book is and were I am in a book and how many pages to finish a chapter is integral parts of reading a book. And the article discussed these kind of things. And the current crop of readers is not very good at giving these kind of information.
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Old 09-25-2009, 07:05 PM   #26
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Damn stone tables for usurping the cave drawings.
and damn eBay for allowing billions access to those stone tablets as well as the pigments, chisels and hammers!!

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Old 09-25-2009, 07:09 PM   #27
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Stone tablets? Luxury! In my day....(fans of Monty Python can finish this one off)
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Old 09-25-2009, 07:24 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by nomesque View Post
Yes. And I found his attachment to the peripherals of book-reading irritating. As I find "did you even read that?" questions irritating
Agreed.

Waxing lyrical over the weight of a book, the smell of a book, the feel of a book -- when the writer hasn't even held an E-reader -- is somewhat tiresome. I have always hated the smell of books. They smell like chemicals at best and like mildew at worst.

As to the "how far along I am in a book" argument, clearly he hasn't seen a Sony reader. When you're reading a book, you clearly see "page n of nn" at the bottom of the screen.

Loved the poster who quoted Bob Dylan in the comments.

Last edited by doreenjoy; 09-25-2009 at 07:35 PM.
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Old 09-25-2009, 07:29 PM   #29
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For me knowing how thick (long) the book is and were I am in a book and how many pages to finish a chapter is integral parts of reading a book. And the article discussed these kind of things. And the current crop of readers is not very good at giving these kind of information.
I like knowing "where I am" in the book, too, although I don't have any problem with Sony's indicator. Page # of # works for me just fine. I seem to remember missing the ability to know where in the chapter I was [back when I first started reading ebooks in 2004], but nowadays I just stop reading when I'm ready to stop.

I do agree with the blog author's point about distractions of reading online (i.e., on the computer, rather than a dedicated reader). It's too easy to get distracted ("I'll just check my email/mobileread/my favorite blog real quick") when I'm reading at my computer.

But I'm quite happy "curling up" on a cold winter night with my Reader, rather than a paperback.

I think the "smell of books" thing is like people who want a cigarette with their coffee. I've known a few people who said that association was the hardest one to break when they quit smoking. We've conditioned ourselves to associate the pleasure of enjoying a good book with the scent or feel of it. Hooey - I just love my story!
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Old 09-25-2009, 09:18 PM   #30
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I'm surprised the cologne companies haven't picked up on this yet. Bottle the essence of rotting pulp and glue. Women can't leave their hands off you. Calvin Klein's new CK Tome!
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