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Old 12-06-2009, 10:28 PM   #1
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North Carolina E-book Skeptic's Website

Tom Campbell is an independent bookseller in North Carolina who calls himself the E-Book Skeptic on his website (and thanks to E-book advocate DR for pointing this site out on another forum). Tom says he has been involved in the book business for more than 30 years and loves books, but as a long-time student of history ...he also knows that things change. Something better comes along, and the old ways fall by the wayside.

http://www.ebookskeptic.net/home.html


For the record, I do not agree with everything Tom says on his site. Some of it makes sense, it seems; some of it seems too extreme. He is not against ebooks. He just calls himself an ebook skeptic.

Maybe that just means he wants to know more about what is going on in the Digital Revolution that came along just as he was reaching middle age?
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Old 12-06-2009, 11:02 PM   #2
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Ehh, he basically just drummed up a bunch of academic studies that compare various forms of reading comprehension with paper and computer screens.

As he points out, no one has done any studies on eInk or dedicated readers. Considering how closely most dedicated devices hew to traditional paper presentation -- both in terms of physical characteristics (no backlight, eInk doesn't have a refresh rate etc) and focus (eInk readers aren't multifunction devices that encourage you to multitask), though, I'd be surprised if the cognitive process is all that much different between reading eInk and paper.

I'm not the only one who believes this, by the way: Take a look at Sandra Aamodt's comments, among others, in an article in the NY Times awhile ago.

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Old 12-06-2009, 11:54 PM   #3
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One blogger, who is actually an early adopter and booster of ebooks, talks [below] about what he says is the right way to be an
e-book skeptic, noting:


Quote:
"Not so coincidentally, the guy [Tom Campbell] behind The E-book Skeptic site is
co-owner of The Regulator Bookshop in Durham, North Carolina. He makes some great points — citing, for
example, the Kindle fiasco at Princeton University........
[but].....Point is, there’s a big difference between being an Alan
Kaufman — comparing e-books to book-burning — and raising some
reasonable questions. In many ways I’m a skeptic......
.....Encouragingly, albeit a skeptic, Campbell is at least open-minded
enough to point to IndieBound’s eBook offerings. While I don’t agree
with Campbell’s big conclusion — I myself think that e-book tech can
improve comprehension, if you adjust to the needs of individual users
and give them up-to-date hardware which they like — he’s a long way
from a Luddite as you’ll see if you drop by his well-done bookstore
site."
So I think it's fair to say Tom C. is not really an ebook skeptic, I think he is very interested to learn more about alll this, and just asking some questions. He is part of the Digital Revolution himself.
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Old 12-07-2009, 12:50 AM   #4
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Flamebait. I fail to see the point here. E-book is a concept, technology if you like, it's not something you can be for or against. You can like it, use it - or conversly dislike it and stick to paper books. Whatever, who cares.
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Old 12-07-2009, 01:31 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taglines View Post
So I think it's fair to say Tom C. is not really an ebook skeptic, I think he is very interested to learn more about alll this, and just asking some questions. He is part of the Digital Revolution himself.
Hmmm. He seems quite solidly against ebooks to me. Though he isn't calling us Nazis (thank goodness!).

Quote:
Originally Posted by The E-book Skeptic
But when something comes along that is demonstrably worse than what it is trying to replace, yet the conventional wisdom nevertheless holds that this new technology is the inevitable wave of the (none too distant) future, it leads the ebook skeptic to wonder just what is going on.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The E-book Skeptic
What about the Kindle, the Sony Reader, and the nook? Aren't their screens different from the computer screens these studies have investigated?

--Yes, these devices use a process called e-ink that is different from the display on any computer screen. These new displays still, however, look and feel more like a computer screen than a printed page. They are also so new that, as far as the e-book skeptic knows, there are no peer reviewed studies that test their bona fides.

Until these kinds of studies are available--let the buyer (and reader) beware. Given the research presented here, I think it would be fair to assume these devices are deficient, until they are proven otherwise. At the least they should come with a warning label to the effect that similar devices have been show to be deficient in the areas of memory and understanding.
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