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Old 09-26-2009, 03:05 AM   #31
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Old 09-26-2009, 08:38 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tompe View Post
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.
'Smell' was used as an argument for why HE didn't like ebooks. I think he's a doofus in this regard.

He did imply that it would take a 'new generation' to use these ebooks... one not habituated to paper books. Hence, that people used to pbooks would generally NOT take to ebooks. Silly.

Let's summarise the actual article:

- a library without books?
- ebook readers can hold lots of books and they're more transportable
- I love paper. That might just be me.
- rows and rows of pbooks inspire awe. That might just be me too.
- I like knowing how far through a story I am. Computers don't tell me that.
- ebook readers might encourage skimming
- pbooks offer no distractions
- ebook readers need to be recharged
- ebook readers can be hacked/file-modified
- I hope all libraries don't do this

Meh. I think the 'oh fer crying out loud' gang have a fair point here
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Old 09-26-2009, 10:12 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nomesque View Post
'Smell' was used as an argument for why HE didn't like ebooks. I think he's a doofus in this regard.
Mary Pearson ought to be a SHE.

The texture and smell discussion is in the part were the author tells her personal quirks and also says that these are not the things she are going to use in the argument. But she is honest and tell about this so we can be careful in reading the real arguments.

The real arguments starts after "My first thought was..."
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Old 09-26-2009, 01:25 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nomesque View Post
Let's summarise the actual article:

- a library without books?
- ebook readers can hold lots of books and they're more transportable
- I love paper. That might just be me.
- rows and rows of pbooks inspire awe. That might just be me too.
- I like knowing how far through a story I am. Computers don't tell me that.
- ebook readers might encourage skimming
- pbooks offer no distractions
- ebook readers need to be recharged
- ebook readers can be hacked/file-modified
- I hope all libraries don't do this

Meh. I think the 'oh fer crying out loud' gang have a fair point here
I'm not really sure about the "no distraction" point. This moment, ereaders/liseuses don't have much to be distracted by- it's not a computer with internet and games and so on. I really begin to think the author played with the idea of using for real an electronic device for her reading, but never got her hands on one. Or maybe "blocked" it (like grannies saying "VCR is tooooo complicate for me" like mine does).

As for the rest, I'd like to point out to the author some books (pbooks, if she wants ) about censure through the age. Forbidden and banned books, in every format, don't have a nice, quiet life- physical censorship (as in paper glued to pages/passages or ink blotted), book fires, processes (think about Les Fleurs du Mal) and other "niceties" were all too common.

At least one good thing out of the article is that I found the golden reason to love readers: don't (usually) have to fear about not using a bookmark or having somebody misplacing it (or the book if you placed the pbook opened upside down).
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Old 09-26-2009, 02:12 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nomesque View Post
- rows and rows of pbooks inspire awe. That might just be me too.
This one has some validity, I think. While a library could have a computer interface with file listings, a screen full of icons, even if they all have book cover images (and not "Fictionwise Classics" pictures) doesn't carry the information that a row of books does:

- How long is the book? (not that every thicker book is longer, but comparing a 700pp blockbuster novel to a young adult 145pp novel is easy, and identifying dense info nonfiction vs pop-reading nonfic is also easy. Filesize doesn't accurately give this info, and word count isn't part of any standard book listing display method.)

- Light entertainment reading, research, or browse-and-explore art book? (Again, icons just don't indicate these categories.)

- What era is the book from? (While reprints can make an older book look new, classics are often printed with covers that indicate their age/status.)

- What's the intended reading audience for this book? (Cover icons indicate some of this, but there's a sameness to them that misses the variety in pbook covers: plain color paper, raised text or cut-out sections for supermarket bestsellers, fancy dust jackets, printed glossy hardcover, plain durable cloth cover.)

Seeing a row of books on a shelf gives me a wealth of information we haven't figured out how to display well on a screen. And that's assuming the screen can show pictures at all--Sony's interface doesn't give me any reminders about why I loaded this book onto my reader.

I'm okay with this. But I acknowledge it could be better, and it will need to be, for ebooks to reach mainstream acceptance. This is a problem (set of problems?) that doesn't compare to music; album covers never had the variety of book covers, and they were all the same size & shape.

Quote:
- I like knowing how far through a story I am. Computers don't tell me that.
Some ebook readers are better at this than others. The Sony's page count works great for LRFs, txt and rtf, and PDFs shown at their original size. It works less well for reflowed PDFs and ePubs, where it shows the original page number, rather than the number of pages you're going to have to click through to get to the end.

It did take some getting used to, for that to mentally connect the same way that pbook sections did. (On the other hand, I no longer have to deal with trying to hold open the first and last thirty pages of the book, when it kept trying to close itself, nor the book *not* closing after it's been read because the spine is damaged.)

Quote:
- ebook readers need to be recharged
This is a serious issue. E-Ink has nice long charge rates (if wifi is not involved), but other ebook readers don't, and for people who aren't daily readers, it can be a real problem.

However, this is a technical issue, and batteries are improving all the time. When someone figures out how to run an ebook reader on the solar cells they use in cheap calculators, this problem will effectively vanish.

Quote:
- ebook readers can be hacked/file-modified
Feature, not bug. However, it could cause problems with discussions of the book, if you can't be sure everyone's reading the same version. Also, the number of badly-edited ebooks, pro and pirate, are part of this problem.

I suppose eventually (after DRM goes away), some bright company can put up an "ebook verification website," where you upload your book temporarily and they check the contents against the "official" version. It would scan your book and report "all text identical" or "less than .5% difference" or "your book contains 235 differences from our archive version" or whatever. (If it could check for italics, that'd be incredible. But I wouldn't expect it.) It might or might not return a list of the differences.

Might be free to use if you can offer them legal copies of books they don't have in their database.

Could potentially even do this with books with no legit public ebook version--because copying for personal use is okay, and archiving a non-publicly-accessible version for research purposes might be okay too.

Quote:
- I hope all libraries don't do this
Me too; pbooks are a big part of our heritage.

However, art museums and galleries didn't vanish when photography got big, nor have they vanished with the introduction of digital artwork. I don't want pbooks gone, but I won't mind them gradually becoming an artistic and historical sphere, rather than a day-to-day life one.
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Old 09-26-2009, 02:16 PM   #36
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I suppose in a way the "awe" factor is to be compared to what we're experiencing with music libraries. Once, you had cds, you displayed them, organised them, and so on. Nowadays- at least I noticed it- it's more on the size of the library in bytes, or the number of album/songs. And it won't stop people liking it to buy vinyls- which are in revival.
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Old 11-15-2009, 05:50 AM   #37
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Another problem with stinky books - is when you get the second hand variety that have been owned by a smoker. Yuck.
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Old 11-15-2009, 11:09 AM   #38
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I used to wax romantic over the smell of old books - honestly, I loved it - and then the library where I work got a donation of dozens of crumbling, bug-infested, nasty old books that I had to go through. Sort of killed the magic of book-smell for me.
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Old 11-15-2009, 05:09 PM   #39
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On the other hand shiny new plastic has it's own smell. The smell might be a result of toxic compounds setting and potentially hazardous but it smells good (aka new car smell).

There are a few things I miss about real books, but the smell is not one of them! I miss the fact I can lend a book to a friend (DRM sucks).
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Old 11-15-2009, 09:01 PM   #40
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There are too many of these badly grounded, largely emotional defenses for traditional books.

Seems like a poor excuse to reject or at least resist on principle the digital and intangible usurping the physical and tangible, which is a noble enough stance but too often favors irrational emotional appeal over any real reasoning.
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Old 11-16-2009, 01:40 PM   #41
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There's one point she makes that is a great justification for single-purpose ebook readers:
Quote:
A traditional book offers no distractions. No pop-ups, no games, no bells, no whistles. Just you, the book, and your thoughts.
Which is exactly what I get with my 505. One of the problems with computers is that it's so easy to distract yourself by clicking on another window. With an ereader I can turn the page, go to a bookmark or a chapter, and that's it, which is perfect.

While paper books have their attractions, there's a lot I don't miss:
Old perfect-bound books whose glue is decaying so that the pages fall out.
Large heavy books that won't stay open and need to be held down so you can see the page you're reading.
Bookmarks that fall out so you lose your place and have to spend 10 minutes finding it again.
etc etc
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