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Posts Tagged ‘iTouch’

The Electronic vs. Print Books Debate

December 16, 2009 8 comments

The eBook debate has been fairly consistently humming in my virtual world of librarians–twitter, GoogleReader, listserves, etc…  Frankly I’m starting to wonder at the vitriol being spewed by both sides of the debate.

We have the print people who are absolutely certain that the electronic people are out to kill any and all print books leading to some sort of Big Brother society where The Man can delete our censor our books whenever he sees fit.

Then we have the electronic people who firmly believe print books are horrible for the environment and anyone who wants to still read them is a backwards, ancient person trying to hold society back.

Um, people, what planet are you living on?

I really believe the eBook vs. print book situation, if allowed to naturally play out, will lead to a world where print and electronic books coexist gracefully.  A world where some people will still prefer print books in most cases but electronic books in others, and other people will prefer electronic books in some cases but print books in others.  Consumers as a group are actually far more flexible than anyone is giving them credit for.  Sure, there’ll be the die-hard hold-outs who will refuse to read anything not in print, and there will be the obsessive electronic fans who will refuse to read anything not on a screen, but in between these two extremes are everybody else.  From what I have seen, people choose which option is best for the situation.  Most people I know have a few books in each format, depending on what they need them for.  Consumers aren’t busy spewing vitriol at each other.  They’re busy saying “Well, I want this genre book on my iTouch for my commute, and this nonfiction book in print so I can write my thoughts in it as I go reading it in the evening.”

The reason for all the angry commentary is plain and simple: fear.  People are afraid of change.  Booksellers are afraid their stores will become obsolete or at least  not profitable anymore if people are downloading their books.  Electronic vendors are afraid the print folks will shout them down before they ever even get a chance.  Then there’s the snobs who think their way is always the best way and are afraid of anything else.

Well, you know what?  I doubt either scenario will happen.  I see a future where booksellers have print books and stations where people can download new electronic books to their reader, and possibly even charge their reader for a small fee.  I see a future where people still have a bookshelf of beloved print books, but also a charging station for their eReader.  I see a future (hell, I’m already living this) where morning commutes feature people reading on eReaders and reading print books they own and reading library books and listening to audiobooks.

So, really, people, calm down and just let the change happen.  It’s not going to kill anyone or anything.

The Masterpieces App

November 13, 2009 2 comments

I recently acquired an iPod Touch, which led to me downloading some apps.  This means that the Oregon Trail app is competing with my current read for attention on my commute.  One day though while browsing the app store, I found one called “Masterpieces.”  It was around 20 books for 99cents.

I have no idea why I bought this.  I have a distinct aversion to eBooks.  I don’t care if that makes me an old fogey at the ripe age of 23; I much prefer holding the paper book firmly in my hand.  Not to mention that I hate staring at screens for fun when I stare at them at work all day.

Today though my bus was abnormally full, which led me to standing and holding the pole with one hand leaving one hand free.  Usually that’s enough to hold a book, but my current one has a broken binding and pages that have to be held in.  I also couldn’t play the Oregon Trail with only one hand.  All of a sudden, I found myself opening the Masterpieces app.  Just as I had chosen a classic to start reading, a seat next to me freed up.  Relieved, I sat down and pulled out my paper book.

I realized later though that although I was relieved to be able to read my paper book, I also was relieved when I was standing up that I had an option besides music to get me through the commute.

Maybe there’s a place in my life for eBooks after all.