Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Does it? Or at least, the way you say?

Telegraph UK: the paper book survives yet.

Gracefully, they do admit that the title of "recreational reader" is snobbish. They are correct in stating that making citations, looking for quotations, etc., is much easier in a physical book. Those of you who adapt to new technologies more easily than I will be quick to point out how easily the Kindle, Nook, and their like allows you to make notes and find quotations, but I will counter-argue that most academic writers work by spreading sources around themselves in a quasi-religious halo of productivity. Even the technology-forward and easily-accessible JSTOR articles wind up being printed out. This could, granted, be changing as tablets become more and more available (and colleges start pushing their use as incentives for attending as they do with laptops). However, I've read more classical literature over the past year than I did during the previous ten due to an e-reader, specifically because the classics are out of copyright and thus free or at least very cheap. (I will not begrudge some poor volunteers their three bucks for formatting the entirety of Shakespeare, come on.) I raise an eyebrow at the article's assertion that some literary in-jokes from the days of authors breaking the fourth wall and addressing readers directly being lost, however: give people some credit for being able to understand metaphorical language, please. Paper books aren't going to disappear from the collective consciousness for a long time yet.

What do you think?

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