Stuff I Say

You Want Me to Ditch Real, Physical Reality?

Posted in Apple, Gadgetry, software by 51future on June 19, 2008

So I was thinking about e-books today. Amazon came out with Kindle recently, that I guess is sort of a success

But I was thinking about why I value real books and other real, physical media over their digital counterparts. Now, I know as well as anyone why I like CDs and that’s because I, as a consumer, understand that 20 years from now I’ll be able to find a way to play and/or rip my CDs but may not be able to connect to the server to download the keys to the music I own. That’s why I like CDs. They’re a pain to lug around, but the having the art is nice and ultimately, it’s a real, physical product. I can hold it in my hands and show it to my friends and generally interact with it. I feel the same way about books. A shelf full of books is an achievement, whereas a list of books you’ve read in a text file on your hard drive is a waste of time.

On the other hand, I do love Bookpedia, mostly because it’s a way for me to see what books I own, where they are, and what I want to read in the future, no matter where I am in the world.

Which leads me to my next point.

I think the true selling point of going completely digital is what you gain in… well, nomadisticity. I mean, I talked about this bag once already and now that I’ve used it for a month or two every single day I’m pretty sure that if I could somehow take everything I own… Or everything I need, anyway (What I need to stay sane and the minimum amount of equipment for survival is quite different, I’m talking about the former here!) and fit it into that bag, I’d feel as though I could do crazy stuff. You know, like save up my money and fly somewhere one way without any idea what to do next. Stuff like that.

That’s where an e-reader comes in. I’d ditch physical reality for a touch screen device about the size of a medium-sized paperback that has a nice glass screen, like the iPhone, upon which there are pages displayed that you can turn and interact with as though they were real, physical pages. I’d want library functionality– that is, the ability to say, browse my library of books that I own and/or buy or download new books, all on that same device. No DRM. DRM ruins things. The device would have to be rugged– coffee proof. I spill things on my books all the time. Water resistant, too. Make it thin and light. Give it extra features. Hell, can I get a rugged Macbook Air tablet PC? That would make my day.

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One Response

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  1. NMJ said, on June 24, 2008 at 3:26 am

    I like the feel of paper when it turns yellow with age, its a feeling I can lose myself in. I’m skeptical about the Digital replacements, and so I have not held one yet. But, the more that I think about it, the more I seem to be OK with the eventual conversion that will take place in or outside of my life time.


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