Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Of horses and cars, books and e-books

John Siracusa on e-books:

Take all of your arguments against the inevitability of e-books and
substitute the word "horse" for "book" and the word "car" for
"e-book." Here are a few examples to whet your appetite for the
(really) inevitable debate in the discussion section at the end of
this article.

"Books will never go away." True! Horses have not gone away either.

"Books have advantages over e-books that will never be overcome."
True! Horses can travel over rough terrain that no car can navigate.
Paved roads don't go everywhere, nor should they.

"Books provide sensory/sentimental/sensual experiences that e-books
can't match." True! Cars just can't match the experience of caring for
and riding a horse: the smells, the textures, the sensations, the
companionship with another living being.

Lather, rinse, repeat. Did you ride a horse to work today? I didn't.
I'm sure plenty of people swore they would never ride in or operate a
"horseless carriage"—and they never did! And then they died.

End of quote. Siracusa's article is worth reading in full:

<http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2009/02/the-once-and-future-e-book.ars>