Technology, yea or nay?


February 11, 2008 by Tracey S. Rosenberg

I now have a Technorati page. Yay! I think? My ‘authority’ (= other blogs who have linked to me – we’re assuming that other blogs are authoritative? Interesting…) is 2 – Sally and Pop Vultures. *waves to them* Anyone else want to link to me? It gives you instant authority!

Speaking of Pop Vultures, where I published a piece several weeks ago: assuming that the writers’ strike does end (looks like it effectively will, though the official stuff is still continuing), I’ll post my ‘walking the strike line with the WGA’ piece over here Real Soon Now.

And on to books: here’s a good contribution to the ever-increasing ranks of will electronic book readers kill the book? (My answer: no.) This one’s written from the perspective of someone who has to pack/swap books to be read during extensive periods of travel.

Speaking as someone who packs her reading material first, and then changes her mind a lot – well before selecting any clothing, snack items, hostess gifts, and whatever toiletries remain free from the Might Be Used For Nefarious Purposes list (P.S. don’t tell the TSA they neglected to spot my Lush lip balm!) – I cannot overemphasize the importance of carefully judging your reading material. Will you actually want to read the entire book, rather than giving up on it before the plane reaches the runway? (This happened to me last year and I had to wait until we were at cruising altitude before I could get to my carry-on bag. THE HORROR.) Can you judge the books perfectly in terms of how long it will take you to read them, so that you will be on the last page of the last book when the taxi pulls up to your destination (assuming that this destination has another book you can start on)?

I do have War and Peace and I intend to save it for a special occasion, when I have hours and HOURS of nothing else to do. This pretty much means a) a round-the-world trip, or b) sitting in a hospital waiting room. I only hope it turns out to be the former.

I can see the advantage of an electronic book reader for travel; imagine having Project Gutenberg in your pocket. But personally, I like dropping books as I travel, giving them away to people I think will enjoy them, or dumping them in coffee shops, or swapping them on those shelves in youth hostels where they always have a book by an author you’ve been looking for, but it isn’t the book you want. I’ll have to risk someday walking onto a long-haul flight without nothing to read but the in-flight magazine (where the crossword has been half-completed, in pen) and whatever newspaper they hand you when they push a cart down the aisle.


3 thoughts on “Technology, yea or nay?

  1. John says:

    Thing is, with the ‘electronic ink’ displays, I think that devices are going to appear which will do to books what iPods are doing to CDs.

    I’m already reading PDFs on my Eee PC, with it turned sideways. If it had a nice eye-friendly display like the Kindle, and access to any book Amazon sell, it would be really hard to justify carrying real paper around.

    I don’t think it’ll end books, but it will reduce paper books to a niche market. There is something nice about holding an actual book in your hands – but people said the same thing about vinyl, and that help it keep mass-market appeal.

    But I suppose the good side is this: the mass market rubbish that everyone’s supposed to hate will be much less likely to appear in print, since the people that read it will do so electronically. There’ll be no more books in Tesco and ASDA – instead there’ll be a renaissance for small local bookshops selling older, out-of-print works and special editions of ‘classics’ both traditional and modern.

  2. SallyQ says:

    Waves right back!

  3. kicking_k says:

    But I linked to you ages ago! (*waaaah*)

    And I do not, myself, think electronic book-readers will take off until they invent one you can safely drop in the bath.

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Tiny bio

I live, work, and write in Edinburgh. I travel to other places as much as I can. To contact me, email writingmostly at gmail dot com.


CURRENTLY READING: The Ginseng Hunter by Jeff Talarigo.

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