Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Step Forward in the Digital Era

This Christmas, after we'd finished opening gifts, my mom told my sister she'd considered getting my sister a Kindle as a present but decided against it. My sister immediately said this was for the best because she's the sort that likes books. My sister rearranged her room so when she woke up, she'd be get up and get to see her bookshelf every day.

(For reference, my sister is 19 and has both Harry Potter and Twilight on her shelf next to a good amount of classical literature and modern bestsellers. My bookshelf contains Terry Pratchett, books on Evolution/Creationism, and all my textbooks from school.)

My sister may not have wanted a Kindle, but I sure do. I'm a bit dyslexic and reading in a straight line is a challenge for me. I have to use a note card to keep track of which line I'm on so I prefer digital media in which I can use a cursor to keep my place. I tend to highlight as I read. After several years of this, books are nice, but I'd rather have an electronic copy.

I'm just waiting for the platforms to become more stable and user friendly. In past months, Amazon has had some issues with pulling media remotely from users Kindles when they were challenged with lawsuits over potential copyright infringement. I don't like the idea that something I'd paid for might disappear on a whim, even if I got a refund. But at the same time, I don't much like all my books getting old and turning yellow.

Fortunately, it seems that demand for digital books is increasing and so too must the technology and laws surrounding it. This past Christmas Amazon.com sold more Ebooks than physical ones. Perhaps within the next year or two, the medium will have developed enough that I'd consider getting into it.


Chet Twarog said...

Ok, Jon, but sooner than later, those electronics get superceded really quick, then what? Books are awesome in that they are "around" for hundreds to thousands of years not needing electronic readers, DVDs, software, computers, batteries, etc. And books are biodegradable, too!

Wayne said...

Does anyone else think it's ironic that Chet mentions both books longevity and the fact that they biodegrade?
Seriously, though, I don't worry too much about digital media as long as it's not wrapped around a "digital rights management" that limits its usability. I still have files on my PC that were originally composed on an Apple IIe in 1988 or so, and I expect they'll keep getting cloned to my newer machines as long as I care to keep them around.