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Old 02-27-2010, 01:20 PM   #31
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Not hard at all. For me it would be the reader; I read far, far more than I watch TV. I could happily live without TV; I wouldn't want to live without reading.
I'd go with the TV, both because I watch a lot of TV (especially sports) and I wouldn't have to give up reading as I could always make use of the library for free.

That's the main thing I see this as a non-issue. Even if someone is so badly off that they can't afford an e-reader nor a PC or other devices that can access e-books, they can make use of the library. If their in a small, rural area the selection may not be great--but they'll probably have most of the old, public domain stuff that they could get in free on e-readers, as well as PCs they could read e-books online on etc.

So I just don't see how it will create any elite reading class. By the time paper books start to diminish (if they ever do) and many books are only available as e-books, e-readers will be very cheap. Public schools will be giving them to students as it's cheaper for them to do that and give them e-textbooks than to give every student all the paper textbooks they need to use each year etc. down the road.

So currently, there's not much of anything only in e-book format, so it's a non issue. And down the road, if anything e-readers will improve access to books among the lower class when e-readers are dirt cheap, given out by schools to students etc.
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Old 02-27-2010, 02:41 PM   #32
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I'm not following the logic at all.

For ereaders to create elitist reading they would have to dominate the book market and drive pbooks to (or over) the edge of extinction, which won't happen until the majority of people have abandoned pbooks in favor of ereading devices with which to read the ebooks.

Not sure I understand the part where being available to the majority equates to elitism.

I guess with that definition in hand, we can rest easy.

Since books aren't readily available to every single person in the world, even now, those of us with books available in any form are just a bunch of elitists already, anyway.

I agree with darylbrayman -- now that I understand it, its great to finally be an elitist at something.

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Old 02-27-2010, 02:47 PM   #33
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eGeezer, well said!

If price or selective availability (e.g., geographic restrictions) is a barrier to buying a reader or an ebook, then we're already elitists. But then, books, as you said, are elitist as not everyone in the world has access financially or physically to books.

As those barriers come down, the elitist nature of the situation also falls because they are AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE.
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Old 02-28-2010, 09:14 AM   #34
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eGeezer, well said!

If price or selective availability (e.g., geographic restrictions) is a barrier to buying a reader or an ebook, then we're already elitists. But then, books, as you said, are elitist as not everyone in the world has access financially or physically to books.

As those barriers come down, the elitist nature of the situation also falls because they are AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE.
When I first started listening to rock music, the records I bought depended on a combination of saved up lunch money and whatever was available locally. Now, anyone can get absolutely whatever they want. It might not always be legal but the availability of just about anything isn't elitist. It's anti-elitist, like you said, because everyone has access to everything.

I'm hoping the same thing happens with ebooks. It's got a long way to go.
But eventually we'll get to a situation where whatever you want to read, it's just a click away, and I don't see how that's catering to an elitist class because the prices on ereaders are only gonna come down, just like everything else. Buying a microwave oven seemed like an elite thing to do, back when they were new. Same as VCRs and just about any new technology.
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Old 02-28-2010, 09:44 AM   #35
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What would the reading elite do?

What's the point of being an elite if you can't lord it over others less fortunate than yourself? How would this reading elite exercise their dominance? Ride around on busses I suppose and ask people "Have you read the latest Harry Potter? Well, I have - so there.

I can't wait!

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Old 02-28-2010, 10:10 AM   #36
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Especially in rural, conservative states. I grew up in one, and I'm still big fan of my state universities sports teams. But man if you mention reading, or I mention I'm a professor etc. on the off topic boards on such sites, you get shouted down as an elitist snob, and out of touch intellectual, have gay slurs thrown at you and everything else.

It's really disconcerting that it's becoming a bad thing to read, to be an intellectual, to do intellectual work in many segments of society in the US. And you're right, it doesn't give much hope for the future if people have these attitudes and pass them onto their children.
I'd hate to break it to you but the same exists within liberal blue states. I'm in one and frankly it can be odd to see how things are. Some have blind faith to a given issue or number of issues and frankly don't challenge it. One candidate advertised he is against special interests and yet he owns part of the Boston Celtics! People will openly cite a study without realizing that unless one releases the raw data it can be highly questionable.

Few people read or at least read a significant amount. Sure there's the magazines and newspapers (which are anorexic) but unless someone is in school they probably aren't reading. Just in having a reference book at work would get questioning if I was in school. One women admitted to me outside of school she probably has only read three books in her life! I was taken aback by this.

I remember hearing an argument about US and Asian versions of electronics. Basically it was that in Asia they'll study the manual as if it is religious doctrine while in the USA they want things simplified to the point of no manual.

Making matters worse is even if tv is factored in as a replacement we haven't had significant intellectual debates at least with ratings for awhile. Outside 60 Minutes there's no high ratings news shows (local doesn't count). I'll give a reprieve for Intelligence Squared which is good but it's on Bloomberg rather than say PBS. The other problem with tv is some keep on surfing rather than um..planning. At least if someone has a recorder they can skip the commercials and not have to wait but that's the minority. The concept of instant gratification unfortunately is prevalent today.

Heck McDonalds still states that picture menus are "available upon request"

ever see this waffle house bit?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uvs2g5Nj0NI

Last edited by mdovell; 02-28-2010 at 10:15 AM. Reason: addit a bit more
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Old 02-28-2010, 11:58 AM   #37
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Books are snobbish in some very big subcultures (like academia). Ebooks just tag technological exclusivity right on top of the pre-existing subculture.

People who read without arrogance may continue reading without arrogance, or they may feel a sense of superiority with an expensive or uncommon gadget. Such behavior wouldn't surprise me from the early Kindle adoption crowd, especially the Oprah cult and similar.

Scholars are frequently condescending when it comes to reading, and ebooks will not really make any difference to the degree of douchebaggery or pride associated with being well-read. The worst I could see is that ebook-owning academics are much more likely to draw out the book they're going to quote to ensure they cite the pretentious language verbatim, believing themselves to simultaneously amaze with their erudition and impress with their financial status and technological prowess.

When the cost of ebook readers is more reasonable (far under $100usd) and commonplace, the gizmo-snobbery will take a backseat, assuming the devices are actually worth owning and the content market doesn't undermine everything. One of the big appeals of toys like ebook readers is that they are still a little bit exclusive. Once that disappears, it'll be interesting to see what supplants exclusivity as a primary market driver.
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Old 02-28-2010, 01:54 PM   #38
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I'd hate to break it to you but the same exists within liberal blue states. I'm in one and frankly it can be odd to see how things are.
Oh definitely. I left the rural state in 2002 and spent 7 years in DC and live in Atlanta now. You see the kind of stuff everywhere. But it was muc worse in WV, is much worse on WVU sports forums than on boards for other universities in more liberal states (especially urban universities) etc.

It's an attitude that just results from ignorance. But it's especially hard coming from lower class conservatives who view intellectuals as out of touch elitists, latte sippers etc.--especially with people like Sarah Palin going around and saying that type of stuff as many in that group look up to people like here, Limbaugh etc. Now of course, the majority of people even in places like WV aren't these tea bagger types etc., there's just more of them there than say, in major cities etc. in my experience.

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Books are snobbish in some very big subcultures (like academia). Ebooks just tag technological exclusivity right on top of the pre-existing subculture.

.....

Scholars are frequently condescending when it comes to reading, and ebooks will not really make any difference to the degree of douchebaggery or pride associated with being well-read.
I don't know that I can agree with that. I'm an academic, and I'll freely admit I'm a bit snobby/elitist in some regards. Hell, a big draw of doing this job vs. taking more money in the private sector was to be in the ivory tower sub-culture away from the ignorance of the unwashed masses I railed against above!

But in all seriousness, I'm not at all snobby about my reading. As I said in the "reading junk" thread, I'm usually mentally fatigued by the time I get around to any leisure reading, so most of the time I'm reading some fantasy series or other light and easy to read fiction. Certainly nothing to be snobby about.

Maybe you'd get that from certain disciplines more--some literature profs are probably snobby about what they read, some history profs probably snobby about fiction and feel people should be reading history etc.

But I don't think all or most academics are snobby about reading. In fact, most of my colleagues aren't doing much reading at all. They have to read so much for work (reading for the research, peer reviewing articles, serving as editors for journals and having to read all submissions ,reading student papers etc.) they have no desire to read in their free time.

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Old 02-28-2010, 01:55 PM   #39
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I work with disadvantaged families who rely on income benefits for survival. I frequently walk into homes where paretns styate they struggle to clother their children spprorpaitely or pay rent, yet there in the livingn room is an emormous plasma TV with xbox or similar, oh and of course cable TV is on as well. Sorry but an E-reader is not such an expensive item for what it offers. A kindle is only $250 US and a fraction of the cost of a plasma TV. Does that sound like a value judgement, well yes it is, those who value reading will prioritise this in their expenditure, those who don't will not.
The plasma TV is most probably not paid in cash but with a credit card (with horrible interest rate). It's not a measurement of wealth to have such gadgets (think about the subprime tragedy).

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Old 02-28-2010, 02:23 PM   #40
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Scholars are frequently condescending when it comes to reading, and ebooks will not really make any difference to the degree of douchebaggery or pride associated with being well-read. The worst I could see is that ebook-owning academics are much more likely to draw out the book they're going to quote to ensure they cite the pretentious language verbatim, believing themselves to simultaneously amaze with their erudition and impress with their financial status and technological prowess.
Are you perchance angry at people who have enjoyed tertiary education? You seem very, very bitter.
I can see how this criticism of yours might apply to third-rate lit professors, but I really don't understand why this absolutely wonderful generalization applies to the entirety of the higher education (and research) system. Who cares that some scholars are frequently condescending when it comes to reading? You, on the other hand, seem to care very much that they can "pretentiously quote other people verbatim." Are you perhaps jealous?
If you want offensive, go live among people can with a straight face say "If you're so smart, how come you aren't a millionaire", yet who at the same time will crucify anyone interested in gaining elementary maths skills, because they resent anyone who has a better chance in life than they have.

The wonderful thing about ebooks is that people from South-America as well as Asia and Iran are able to download them "Illegally", so that they can gain access to information that will likely never in their lifetimes become available, let alone affordable, for them. If you want to suggest that to be a meaningless improvement, because of the anger you feel towards lit professors, be my guest, but know that you probably won't be able to convince me that you're saying anything I will think particularly to the point.

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Old 02-28-2010, 04:35 PM   #41
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Are you perchance angry at people who have enjoyed tertiary education? You seem very, very bitter.
Nope, I used to in fact be one of the very types I'm generalizing, as were many of my colleagues and classmates.

You read far too much into my comment. I am probably guilty of baiting it though.
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Old 02-28-2010, 04:38 PM   #42
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We didn't worry about VCRs creating an elite class of people who could watch movies at home! There are still print books available in public libraries in most countries, it is not like there aren't other ways to consumer books.

The Internet on the other hand was a more realistic 'elite class creator'. When a lot of people lived in homes without a computer and access to the Internet that was a significant disadvantage to those people.
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Old 02-28-2010, 04:58 PM   #43
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What's the point of being an elite if you can't lord it over others less fortunate than yourself? How would this reading elite exercise their dominance? Ride around on busses I suppose and ask people "Have you read the latest Harry Potter? Well, I have - so there.

I can't wait!

- Frank
Ummm... As *one* of the 'reading elite', my first move was to buy adoring slaves and hire minions and thugs. One simply *cannot* be part of the 'elite' without slaves, minions and thugs! Now I'm looking for a secret headquarters, a lair, a laboratory and a villa in Tuscany. These, along with Gulfstream G-IVs (a matched set), 250 ft. mega yacht and a bevy of buxom beauties (barrel-chested, six-packed beaus for the female 'elite', of course) make a fair start.

BTW, has anyone seen my invite to join the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderberg Group??? I know, with *so* many members (what's BG up to these days? 3 billion? 4?) it is beginning to be somewhat of a joke, but it says right in "So You're Now One of the Reading Elite" handbook that I *must* join.

Derek
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Old 02-28-2010, 06:41 PM   #44
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You read far too much into my comment. I am probably guilty of baiting it though.
Self-deprecation was hardly the vibe you were giving off, no.
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Old 02-28-2010, 08:58 PM   #45
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Oh definitely. I left the rural state in 2002 and spent 7 years in DC and live in Atlanta now.
Woot, another person in GA!
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