Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I was a little worried yesterday that we weren't going to have a white Christmas. Sometimes I wonder why I think about these things. We woke up this morning to a TON of snow. On the one hand, I'm very excited about it, but on the other, it really sucks. I have to go to the dentist tomorrow and I have to go to my parents on Thursday. With any luck, the roads will clear up in the next couple of days. If they don't, not too much I can do about that! Oh, well. It's just that time of year!

The ebook saga continues. In the most recent article, Borders and Barnes and Noble seem to be having some major financial issues. People keep talking about how the traditional role of publishing and physical books will always be around, and I'm sure they will, but the numbers seem to be leaning toward ebooks. Even I'm thinking about getting an ereader.

There are a lot of benefits to ebooks. 1) They take up a lot less space in your house. 2) They are generally cheaper. 3) Authors get more royalties from them. (There are downsides, too, such as how do you do international copyright and others I'm probably not aware of.) As I contemplate whether or not I want an ereader, I think about the attachment I have to physical books. I wonder: is the reason we are so attached to them because we don't know anything else? Think about it: all our lives we've only had books. We never had the technology before to have ebooks. What will it be like for our children? Will they prefer ebooks to books?

To me, it's not the look, feel, and smell of a book, though that is nice, it's the actual act of reading. Most of my work day is spent staring at a computer. When I do my freelance editing, it's on the computer. I get the same information from the screen as I would a book. Plus, ereaders are usually small enough to curl up with in bed. They're really starting to look good...

Like I said, I don't think physical books will disappear entirely. Again, there is the sentimental value tied to books. I also don't think that kids books would be very fun to read on an ereader. But who knows? As technology continues to evolve, the future might hold ereaders that kids books look wonderful on. (Plus, look at the stuff that Leapfrog is coming out with.) Again, it's not the act of physically holding the book, but the time spent with my kids. If they can look at a screen and enjoy it the same, that's good enough for me.


Martin Rose said...

I wasn't actually very eager to make the change to ebook -- but I've been pretty nomadic, so it helped to not have to carry so much crap around! Plus, there's so many free classics as part of the public domain -- that ultimately swayed me. And it wasn't until I sat down and read a story that I got really involved in that the ebook reader finally won me over. We associate so many happy memories with physical books, it's hard to imagine being able to do it with a screen, but once you make new associative memories with the e-reader, it's awesome. And it's definitely where things are headed for writers.

Pembroke Sinclair said...

It's true, we do associate memories with books. But I wonder: is it the book itself or the story? Really, it can go either way!