I should be the perfect candidate for an e-reader: I own thousands of books, lack space for more and often schlep several heavy volumes in my bag. So when I begged my family to refrain from getting me a Kindle for Christmas, they were confounded. ...Read the whole thing. Newman lays out some pretty good arguments for print's continuing relevance, especially the idea that "physical memory runs deep," that the tangible form of a volume impacts us almost as much as its verbal content. He mentions how University of Washington Book Arts Librarian Sandra Kroupa likes to dump a stack of Little Golden Books in front of adults and watch them beam, a reaction that virtual ink surely wouldn't elicit. Such tactile joys have always seemed to me a clincher for physical books.
E-books are not only better, my family claims, but inevitable. Retail giants tend to agree. Leonard Riggio, chairman of Barnes & Noble and its biggest shareholder, has said that, "Digital publishing and digital book-selling will soon become the most explosive development in the history of our industry and will sweep aside those who aren't participating." The physical book will soon be akin to the parchment scroll. ...
So why do I doubt that I'm being left behind?
I also find in myself a growing predilection for e-books, and not only because a worthy electronic publisher deigned to include me in one of its anthologies. (By the way, have you picked up your copy of Discount Noir yet? Makes a great Christmas present!) It's hard to deny e-books' advantages. Yesterday, a friend in the pastorate told me he's eyeing a Nook for his non-theological reading, something light and simple he could have at his fingertips whenever he wants to snatch a paragraph or two. He isn't a techie or an early adopter; he's drawn by the device's ease of purchasing and massive storage. I'll wager that his experience is representative of the larger market, a developing dual track where e-books are embraced without abandoning print. A fine compromise, if you ask me.
(Picture: CC 2010 by Micah Taylor)