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Old 05-23-2006, 06:50 PM   #1
Bob Russell
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To save books you must... Kill them?!

Jeff Jarvis, of the BuzzMachine has some pretty strong words as a follow-up to Keith Kelly's recent article about books. Jeff tells us...

"The problems with books are many: They are frozen in time without the means of being updated and corrected. They have no link to related knowledge, debates, and sources. They create, at best, a one-way relationship with a reader. They try to teach readers but don’t teach authors. They tend to be too damned long because they have to be long enough to be books. As David Weinberger taught me, they limit how knowledge can be found because they have to sit on a shelf under one address; there’s only way way to get to it. They are expensive to produce. They depend on scarce shelf space. They depend on blockbuster economics. They can’t afford to serve the real mass of niches. They are subject to gatekeepers’ whims. They aren’t searchable. They aren’t linkable. They have no metadata. They carry no conversation. They are thrown out when there’s no space for them anymore. Print is where words go to die... We need to kill the book to save books."

For more information check out the full article, The book is dead. Long live the book.
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Old 05-24-2006, 10:43 PM   #2
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Interesting thoughts. Cant argue with a lot of the points raised, ... but I don't feel that the book format is dead yet. On the other hand, I do feel that the desire, need, and demand for e-books are on the rise. That rising slope is about to start getting steeper too, so it would actually behoove publishers to jump on and lead the way instead of following and trying to play catchup.
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Old 05-25-2006, 07:11 AM   #3
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Hi,

The book format is not dead and I do not see it getting dead soon since it satisfies an ingrained need in our nature: the need for narrative. Before books there were the storytellers that satisfied this.
I can see nonfiction books changing, immersive fiction (a la 3D gaming) appearing, maybe even large scale collaborative fiction, but I still believe that the need for a "simple" narrative without any other distractions, where you can let your imagination fly will still be with us for a long while, hence the book as a format. That the book will be digital or print is irrelevant, the fundamental characteristics: text only and reasonably stable storyline are essential.

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Old 05-25-2006, 10:01 AM   #4
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Although I have high hopes for forthcoming e-book devices, including their ability to annotate text and to display full A4 PDF content, I am somewhat reluctant to predict the end of the book, at least not any time soon. I don't know if you've experienced the same, but for me it is definitely the case that I can memorize and comprehend content faster and better when it is from a paper book than from a e-book. Perhaps it's because of the physical properties of p-books... when I remember a concept and want to go back in the text, I know exactly where to look for it. It's like I have a picture of the actual page in my mind where I need to go to find what I need. With the e-book it's definitely not like this. I am required to use the search function to find content again, and usually it's not that easy because while I can remember the layout of paper page, it's much harder to remember an actual textual phrase. So today if I have the choice, I would always pick the p-book for studying purposes.
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Old 05-25-2006, 02:54 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander Turcic
... when I remember a concept and want to go back in the text, I know exactly where to look for it. It's like I have a picture of the actual page in my mind where I need to go to find what I need. With the e-book it's definitely not like this. I am required to use the search function to find content again, and usually it's not that easy because while I can remember the layout of paper page, it's much harder to remember an actual textual phrase. So today if I have the choice, I would always pick the p-book for studying purposes.
I agree, also just something silly like closing a half-read book, I can remember the page I was on, by it's layout and aproximate place in the book (at the beginning, in the middle...). This doesn't happen for me in an e-book.
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