My hopes of Apple ever releasing an e-book reader with beautiful software and the same sleek looks as their new MacBook Air were crushed by the New York Times this morning. In an interview, Steve Jobbs declared that the idea of e-books is based on a fundamental mistake:

It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore,” he said. “Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.


3 thoughts on “Airy-fairy

  1. E-book is just a bad idea which comes from lack of understanding how humans perceive the form of physical books. It’s also a sorry concept the marketers of which haste to to pursue just to please the Big Hand behind global capitalism driven by neo-liberalist ideology. Well, maybe not so simple. But anyway, the only people who are in want of it may be reserchers who’d want to carry the whole library. Although I have used the computer for about twenty years, I find it exptremely difficult to imagine coming by ‘serendipity’ from e-books and their carrier, which I may expect from grabbing a fresh copy of books from browsing the shelves of bookstores. But you are the scholar, and I guess you know the better and have the kind of need I have no idea about. Thanks! Ciao!

  2. Gene, I am in two minds about it, too. I would like to carry around a lot of books in a fast, light-weight e-book that has a perfect interface, and layout that is nice to read. It would just be so much more comfortable to carry around than two volumes of the Norton Anthology of English Literature.

    Also, I hate to admit it, but the “people who bought this book also bought” function of Big-Hand capitalist sometimes gives me similar serendipitous finds as book shelves do…

    On the other hand, I don’t think I would ever go off paper books, I agree with you that physical books just give you a totally different reading experience than an e-book. We had an Iliad e-reader at our university to experiment with a while ago, and although they managed to develop a screen that is a quiet to the eye as a paper page, the feel, the layout of the page, the writing with a little pen on the screen all took a lot of getting used to for me. On the other hand, if they develop a good e-reader with a soft back light built into the screen, so that you can read in bed in the dark, hey, I would be all for it!

  3. Kristine,

    I realize that my response was blinkered. It was just off the top of my head. A deeper appreciation of your remark prompts me to look at the issue more carefully and from different perspectives of aesthetics and practicality. It’s something I should have a sustained reflection about.

    I feel that global capitalism is the last resort of imperialist strategies nourished by a siege mentality and that in the process our consciousness is being conditioned to the need of a library in the briefcase. A sense of failing Western capitalism gives me a turn of mind, aided by reflection on the ancient philosophies of the East.

    But I should also confess that for some time I was strongly tempted by the thought of getting a Kindle. Well, I didn’t give in. I buy books from Amazon, 20 to 30 books a month on Prime Membership. But I still get to have the feel of the delivered physical books coming in different designs and physicality.

    The word that banner my exit is “surplus”. Thank you!

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