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Old 08-28-2006, 05:42 AM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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Where reading paper books is like having sex

It seems Aussies have a different relationship to their paper books than most other folks do. The Age has an exceptionally interesting article where Monica Dux talks about the pleasures of reading paper books versus e-books. On the one hand, she envisions a rosy future for e-reader technology, with screens that resemble normal paper, download access to unlimited content, and intelligent user interfaces. On the other hand, she maintains that for most people, including herself, "the idea of replacing traditional books is as unthinkable as taking the body out of the sex act, so carnal is their attachment."

The author mentions various pro-paper book sentiments:
  • Emotional attachment: you must be able to feel, smell and (uhm...) listen to books
  • Separation anxiety: readers cannot be more than five minutes away from a real book without developing a stomach ache
  • Location flexibility: the "3 B's" - bed, beach and bath
  • Bookshops: you got to worship the temples in which books are housed.

But Mrs Dux doesn't stop here. In fact, she explains that most of these emotional aspects could be addressed by further technical improvements of e-readers (why has no one yet considered a clear waterproof slim-case for the iRex iLiad?). And she summarizes very nicely:

Quote:
It is likely that printed books will persist and even thrive. Yet it's wise to be clear about what it is that motivates our desire to retain them. Otherwise we dedicated readers leave ourselves open to the danger of becoming literary anachronisms, as the mainstream world embraces the new technology and we who exalt the book as well as the text are ironically left with an inferior way of consuming our beloved words, blinded to the grander purpose to which books are dedicated: reading.
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Old 08-28-2006, 09:31 AM   #2
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When you live as a recluse in a big country where communication is arduous and when even radio and TV are difficult to satisfy your curiosity, a book is truly your best friend.
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Old 08-28-2006, 10:17 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander Turcic
why has no one yet considered a clear waterproof slim-case for the iRex iLiad
I have! I thought a good quality Ziploc bag (you know, thickish plastic type) might do the trick (but I haven't tried it yet).
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Old 08-30-2006, 11:24 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElaHuguet
I have! I thought a good quality Ziploc bag (you know, thickish plastic type) might do the trick (but I haven't tried it yet).
I've tried reading in the bathtub with my TX through a thin ziploc (all I had with me). Wasn't happy with it--I think it resulted in some permanent display discoloration, and the ziploc got less and less clear as I was reading.
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Old 08-30-2006, 11:52 AM   #5
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Hehehe... thanks for the heads-up, Pruss, at least my curiousity is moderately satisfied, since I truly doubt my husband will let me approach anything wet with an almost-700-euro toy, however much I may trust the bag to "do its thing".
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Old 08-30-2006, 07:46 PM   #6
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She might never embrace electronic books but her kids will. They will wonder at these old people and their attraction to primitive paper reading devices
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Old 08-31-2006, 03:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Swift
She might never embrace electronic books but her kids will. They will wonder at these old people and their attraction to primitive paper reading devices
Maybe they'll see them on museum tours. *GRIN*
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Old 08-31-2006, 03:18 PM   #8
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Did Monica Dux give birth to a ditionnary ?
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:50 AM   #9
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Yeah ... when the last tree is chopped ...

then again, when the last tree is chopped, perhaps electronic devices would also be on it's way out ... ... or more importantly ... us?
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snappy!
Yeah ... when the last tree is chopped ...

then again, when the last tree is chopped, perhaps electronic devices would also be on it's way out ... ... or more importantly ... us?
I remember reading a paper that says the negative ecological impact of e-book readers is greater than that of producing p-books.
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Old 09-01-2006, 09:53 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doctorow
I remember reading a paper that says the negative ecological impact of e-book readers is greater than that of producing p-books.
That saying is biased !

I live in Quebec where 90% of trees are cut for paper, you should see what little we have left, mainly 100 feet around law protected waterways. Up north 300 year old trees are 10" across only, don't count on regrowth.

Don't forget that for books bleaching of fibers with toxic chemicals is necessary, that pollutes enormously, actually killing rivers. I used to live next to one, you would'nt believe the stench. :hanged:

I am a book collector, I have about 3000 about a ton of paper, and all set in a 20' library that had to be built of wood, all of which could fit on a 2gb SD card.
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Old 04-15-2007, 09:23 AM   #12
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I don't know about Quebec, but here in America books are printed on farmed trees. Saying books destroy trees is like saying bread destroys wheat.

So yeah, I'd bet ebooks are worse.

On a side note, recycling paper leaves more chemical pollution than making new paper. Also, wth is up with people loathing to throw paper into a landfill or worrying that it won't decompose (or wanting to use paper over plastic because it'll decompose)? When it doesn't decompose, it's carbon sequestering! Landfills also have lots of capacity and live quite nicely when they're full and covered over with greenery. (And that's where the chemical byproducts should also end up, not in a river.)

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Old 04-15-2007, 09:40 AM   #13
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As for ebooks vs pbooks... I like old, hardbound, small tomes. However, most pbooks are either heavy or paperback. This makes them very inconvenient. And if they're new, they don't really have the smell or feel. Let's not romantically attribute the properties of a few good pbooks to all of them.

Regarding the three B's... very important, but I don't worry too much about taking my Sony into the tub (haven't tried the beach). I'm careful and the nice felt cover doesn't slip in the hand. Even if something were to happen, chances are pretty good that it'll survive just fine if I quickly take it apart and dry it out. Short-circuiting by clean water at low voltage is not actually a huge problem. You just have to not let it sit around wet for too long. It'd be better, tho, if I could also immediately remove the battery.

Regarding bookstores... yeah, bookstores are nice. Nothing nicer than to go around judging books by their covers.
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Old 04-15-2007, 08:18 PM   #14
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lol, the debate rages on! It is good to see so much debate, it means that people are actually starting to consider eBooks as a viable medium instead of something that "may" happen in the future.

Food for Thought: You have to wonder if the monks, who were physically penning books in the middle ages, had such angst and misgivings about the printing press; stating such issues as the loss of personality to books when they are no longer "scribed by hand." Better yet, how about the bards of old who used to tell stories as a living; how many of them were anxious when more people learned to read and their job market diminished.

As to her 3-B's... I think I've probably only taken a few PB's into the bath in my lifetime, and was still troubled by the fact that they were exposed to so much humidity and moisture that I just felt it wasn't right. Don't get me wrong, I love to read but for me a bath is about relaxing for a bit and not coming out all pruned-up. The beach, on the other hand, it a viability, although there isn't one close, I think I'll stick to the 'ol PB on the shelf for hauling to a place of such elemental invasion (the bed's quite safe... most of the time! )
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Old 04-15-2007, 08:35 PM   #15
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I'm getting fed up going into bookstores.
Too often I come home with a new novel only to find that I already have it.

I keep intending to make a list of my p-books and e-books to keep on my PDA to take with me when browsing. I wish I were more organised.
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