vendredi 26 août 2011

E-books: the good and the bad

From "How the E-book Will Change the Way We Read and Write" (

*The bad: attention deficit.*

"[The rise of e-books] will make it easier for us to buy books, but at the same time make it easier to stop reading them." [The author describes being in the middle of reading one book and suddenly having the urge to read something else -- one download, and voilà. You can read whatever you like, right away.]

"I fear that one of the great joys of book reading -- the total immersion in another world, or in the world of the author's ideas -- will be compromised. We all may read books the way we increasingly read magazines and newspapers: a little bit here, a little bit there."

*The good: ability to go back and search within all the books you've ever read.*

"[T]hink about what happened because of the printing press: The ability to duplicate, and make permanent, ideas that were contained in books created a surge in innovation that the world had never seen before. Now, the ability to digitally search millions of books instantly will make finding all that information easier yet again. Expect ideas to proliferate -- and innovation to bloom -- just as it did in the centuries after Gutenberg.

Think about it. Before too long, you'll be able to create a kind of shadow version of your entire library, including every book you've ever read -- as a child, as a teenager, as a college student, as an adult. Every word in that library will be searchable. It is hard to overstate the impact that this kind of shift will have on scholarship."

*The good AND bad... depending on your point of view:*

"Nobody will read alone anymore. Reading books will go from being a fundamentally private activity -- a direct exchange between author and reader -- to a community event, with every isolated paragraph the launching pad for a conversation with strangers around the world."

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