13 July 2013

When reading is 100% digital...

Ebooks...they're here for good.

The following is a good comment from the Cheapass Fiction blog about the move to digital books these days which I have to say I mostly agree with...

"I look forward to the day when reading is 100% digital.

Yeah, I said it. I like e-books. A lot. I’m a bad person. A bad writer. A bad reader. And I do realize that there is a contradiction in this confession – a confession I’m writing while sitting on a train using a very shaky pen and paper.

It’s not that I don’t like pressed tree gunk glued together and splashed with ink. I do. There’s something calming about moving a pen over paper or holding the physical result of communication in your hands. And books are beautiful. They are decorative, evocative. An old dusty tome feels different from a shiny new bestseller with a crackly binding and a gluey smell. A marked up textbook with wrong answers scribbled out in the margins gives a very different experience from a mint-condition, dust-jacketed Harry Potter hardback from a midnight release party.

But there’s an emotional component to my yearning for digital, too.

I love books.

But I also love stories.

In my pocket I have a palm-sized box of metal and plastic thinner than most picture books. In this box, my entire library lives. My favorite classics, practical manual-style non-fiction, embarrassing trashy romances… it’s all there.

Books – the physical things – are beautiful and evocative, but they cannot always be there. But fell the physical barriers and then stories can be everywhere. At the bus stop. In a crowd. At a boring dinner party. In bed. On the toilet. Everywhere. A little box filled with 1s and 0s lets stories invade meatspace – ever present, easily read and remembered and shared stories. Stories that fit in a pocket. An entire library of stories.

And when I say 100% digital… I don’t mean that I want to throw away all the beautiful and evocative dead-tree-and-ink books. I just want to be able to (and perhaps more importantly be allowed to) read anything and everything in a form that fits in the 1s and 0s in my pocket. As much as I love books, my true love is the stories on their pages, and the pages are just a tool. Beautiful, evocative ones, but tools nonetheless."

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